Braised food

Braised Greek Lamb with Tomatoes (Kokkinisto)

Kokkinisto, which means “blushed” in Greek, is also the name of this dish: braised meat with tomato or tomato sauce. Lamb cooked in this classic style creates a rich, hearty sauce to serve with Greek pasta smothered in olive oil and myzithra cheese. Serve with our Swiss chard for a healthy and light side.

What to buy: Greek macaroni has little in common with the popular elbow macaroni. Greek macaroni are long tubes of pasta similar to Italian bucatini, but larger. It can be found in Greek grocery stores or online. If you can’t find any, you can substitute fettuccine, bucatini or orzo.

Aged myzithra is a goat’s or sheep’s milk cheese with a hard, crumbly texture and an intense salty taste. It should not be confused with fresh myzithra, which has a chewy texture like farmhouse cheese. It can be found in some supermarkets (like Whole Foods), most cheese shops and Greek grocers.

This recipe was featured as part of our Greek Easter celebration menu.

  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Total: 3h50

Ingredients (18)

For the lamb:

  • 6 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder, lamb shank, or a combination of the two, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Greek olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the lamb
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 glass of dry red wine
  • 2 cups canned tomato sauce
  • 2 cups plus 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the pasta:

  • Salt
  • 1 pound #5 Greek macaroni, such as Misko (see What to Buy note)
  • 2 tablespoons Greek olive oil
  • 2 ounces aged myzithra cheese, finely grated


For the lamb:

  1. Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper; put aside.
  2. In a 6-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook the lamb in three batches (to avoid crowding the pot) until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a large bowl; put aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, garlic, oregano, cinnamon and measured salt to pot and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir to coat the onion, and cook until the tomato paste no longer tastes raw, about 2 minutes. Stir in wine and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, 2 cups water and bay leaves. Return the lamb pieces to the pot with the accumulated juices. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Using tongs, rotate the pieces of lamb from the bottom of the pan to the top, cover and simmer until the meat is falling off the bone, about 1 hour more.
  4. Transfer the lamb to a serving platter and cover with foil. Keep warm at room temperature or in a 200°F oven.
  5. Strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl or large measuring cup. Skim the grease from the surface (you can also use a grease separator) and discard it; you should have about 4 cups of liquid remaining. Return the liquid to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 6 tablespoons of water and cornstarch and add to the braising liquid. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 1 minute. Pour over lamb or serve as a side dish with pasta.

For the pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta, stir and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside. Using a paper towel, dry the inside of the jar.
  2. Return pan to high heat, add oil and heat until simmering, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cooked pasta and sprinkle with half the cheese. Mix the pasta with tongs. Sprinkle remaining cheese over pasta, toss to coat and serve with lamb and sauce.