Albanian Baked Lamb and Rice with Yogurt (Tavë Kosi)
Garlicky lamb and rice baked under a thick, tart veil of yogurt is a dish beloved throughout Albania. This recipe first appeared in our November 2013 issue with Francine Prose’s story Eastern Promise.
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, preferably Lucini brand
- 2 lb. lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1⁄3 cup flour
- 3 tbsp. long grain white rice
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp. finely chopped oregano
- 4 cups plain yogurt
- 1⁄8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 5 eggs
- Heat 3 tbsp. butter and the oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper and toss with 1⁄4 cup flour. Working in batches, cook lamb, turning as needed, until browned, 10–12 minutes. Add rice, garlic, and 1⁄2 cup water; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until rice is just tender, about 18 minutes. Stir in oregano, salt, and pepper and transfer to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish; set aside.
- Heat oven to 375°. Melt remaining butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in remaining flour; cook until smooth, 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in yogurt, nutmeg, eggs, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour yogurt sauce evenly over lamb mixture. Bake until golden and the lamb is tender, 45–60 minutes.