Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with these delicious Greek Lamb Tacos with Minted Yogurt Sauce- a feast for the senses. In this recipe, lamb shoulder is rubbed with a fragrant herb paste and braised in the oven until tender and falling apart. When it’s done, about 3 hours later, the meat pulls apart easily with two forks and is served with a smorgasbord of toasted tortillas, cucumbers, radishes, feta crumbles, parsley, minted Greek yogurt sauce and an optional but flavorful Herb-Caper Sauce. In summer add vine- ripened tomatoes and greek olives.
Here I’ve used a 5-6 pound boneless lamb shoulder, perfect for entertaining, or for making ahead and freezing in batches.
It’s cooked in a very large Dutch Oven, over a bed of onions, bay leaves and white wine.
A simple herb paste is made with garlic, herbs, salt and olive oil.
It’s rubbed all over the shoulder and then into the oven it goes. About 15 minutes of hands on time before braising in the oven for 3 hours.
While its cooking, make the simple sides. Lots of freshness here, to counterbalance the richness of the lamb.
A simple Minted Yogurt Sauce is stirred together with lemon zest and optional chili flakes.
Once the lamb is tender, drain the fat, reserving the melted wine-infused onions, then gently pull the meat apart.
Quite easy work for such a delicious feast.
Let guests serve themselves, creating their own perfect Greek Lamb Taco.
The extra meat can be frozen for later and turned into a simple stew, or a tasty Shepard’s Pie.
Or turn all the leftovers into a Greek Lamb Bowl served over rice ( or cauliflower rice) during the busy workweek.
Greek Lamb Tacos- a delicious way to celebrate this Cinco de Mayo!
- 5-6 pound boneless lamb shoulder
- 12 fat garlic cloves
- ½ cup packed fresh herbs- thyme, parsley, oregano or sage or a combination
- ½ cup olive oil
- zest of ½ a lemon
- 5-6 teaspoons kosher salt ( 1 teaspoon for every pound of meat)
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 large onion
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 english cucumber- sliced or diced
- 6 radishes- sliced or diced
- 1 cup crumbled feta ( optional- or make yogurt sauce)
- ½ cup fresh torn Italian parsley or mint leaves ( for garnish)
- 10-12 small Tortillas ( i prefer a blend of flour and corn)
- Minted Yogurt Sauce ( optional- or sub feta or goat cheese)
- 1 cup Greek style yogurt ( whole milk)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- zest of a lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice ( or lime)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
- Herbed Caper Sauce - optional
- ½ cup mint
- ½ cup parsley
- 1-2 garlic cloves- finely minced
- ⅓ C olive oil
- Zest of one lemon
- ⅛ C fresh lemon juice (half a lemon)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tablespoons capers
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Let meat rest on counter and come to room temp. Trim any excess fat. ( A little is ok)
- Make the herb paste: Place garlic, oil, herbs, zest, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and blend into a paste.
- Slice the onion into ⅓ -½ inch rings and lay in the bottom of a large Dutch oven, creating a foundation for the lamb to rest on. Add the bay leaves. Pour the cup of wine over the onion.
- Rub the lamb with the garlic herb paste, coating all sides well,l using it all up, getting in all the nooks and crannies, inside and out. Place the meat over the onions in the pot. Cover with a tight filling lid and place in the hot oven. The lamb will take roughly about 3 hours to cook and become tender, give or take, depending on size and weight. Check after 2 hours, then every ½ hour after that. It is done when the meat easy pulls apart with two forks.
- While the lamb is braising, prep the veggies. Slice or dice the cucumber and radishes. Chop the herbs. Make the Minted Yogurt sauce by stirring the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- When the meat is tender, using tongs, carefully remove it from the pan, placing it on a dish. Discard the Bay leaves. Fish out the flavorful melted onions and save them with the meat. Pour all the fat/liquid out of the pan, saving it. Return the lamb and onions to the pan, shred it a little with two forks and season with salt. Either skim the fat from the braising liquid ( which will rise to the surface) or chill it- (it will harden) and you can easily remove it. You can add a little braising liquid back into the lamb ( this step is optional-but adds more moisture and flavor).
- Serve up the lamb with toasted tortillas ( or lightly grill them over your gas burner on the stove) and all the sides.
- NOTES: For another added burst of flavor make the Optional Herbed Caper Drizzle. Place all but the capers in a food processor and pulse repeated, until chopped evenly ( but not smooth). Pour in a small bowl. Stir in the Capers.