tzatziki tacos

Tzatziki Tacos

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with a friend at Next Door Eatery in Denver. One of the things I respect about this restaurant is their commitment to the farm-to-table concept.  This reminded me that it had been awhile since I had purchased meat from local farmers, especially lamb. This got me thinking of lamb dishes, resulting in this Tzatziki Tacos recipe.

tzatziki tacos

I decided to modify the traditional tzatziki sauce of yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, dill, and lemon by making it a cross between a salad and salsa. I accomplished this by adding tomatoes, feta, and Kalamata olives and keeping the cucumbers as chunks (rather than blending them into the sauce). I then used this fresh salad as a topping to balance the hearty taste of the shredded lamb, served in a toasted corn tortilla.

My husband thought these were fantastic, making me wish I had made a double batch. If you are looking for a fun, new take on tacos (or gyros), try these Tzatziki Tacos!

tzatziki tacos

Tzatziki Tacos
 1 ½ pounds lamb shoulder chops
½ cup beef stock
1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
1 cup peeled, diced cucumber
½ cup crumbled feta
¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
½ cup plain, Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon  lemon juice
10 yellow soft corn tortillas (~6 inch diameter)
 

Place the lamb and beef stock in a 4 quart slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours. 

While the lamb is cooking, prepare the tzatziki salad.  Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, and olives in a large bowl.  Add the yogurt, dill, garlic, and lemon juice and stir to coat and mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve the tacos.

After the required cooking time, remove the lamb from the slow cooker. Then, remove the bones and fat from the lamb and shred the remaining meat; set the meat aside and keep warm.

Lightly toast the corn tortillas on both sides in a non-stick skillet.   To serve, evenly divide the lamb between the tortillas, and top with the tzatziki salad. Serve immediately.

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Garlic Braised Lamb Shank

My family has continues to sample some of the other items my local rancher has for sale, and we have loved everything. Bacon, breakfast sausage, lamb – all have been delicious. This week I decided to try the lamb legs and create a recipe that rivals the dish I like so much at one of the local restaurants.

For some reason I was daunted by the long cooking time required to make decadent, fall-off-the-bone lamb shanks. And then it hit me – isn’t that what a slow cooker is for?? Silly me.

Braised Lamb Shank

Braised Lamb Shank

Sure enough, my crockpot produced the succulent lamb legs I was hoping for, and the upfront prep was minimal. I served the lamb shanks over horseradish mashed potatoes (made with some of the Saucy Mama creamy horseradish sauce) for a restaurant quality dinner. It looks like I have to find a new favorite entrée then next time I visit that local restaurant, since I can now easily make the lamb shank myself!

Braised Lamb Shank

Braised Lamb Shank


Garlic Braised Lamb Shanks

1 1/2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 pounds lamb shanks, not trimmed of fat
12 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed
¼ cup freshly minced garlic (~1 head)
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced carrot
1 1/2cups dry red wine
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

 

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of the beef stock, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

Over medium-high heat, brown the lamb legs on all sides and then lay the shanks in a 5-6 quart crockpot insert so they fit, then scatter the pearl onions over the lamb shanks. Add the garlic, celery and carrots to the pan used to brown the lamb and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the beef stock and add to the small bowl with 1 cup of the wine and rosemary. Pour the liquid over the lamb legs. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours. Halfway through the cooking, add the remaining stock and wine to maintain the braising liquid.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shanks to a serving platter. Serve with mashed potatoes, and the remaining juice in the crockpot as gravy.

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