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Tave Kosi – Albania National Dish – Day 3/Dish 2

January 10, 2010

Tave Kosi  – Albania’s National Dish   Day 3/Dish 2                      

Hello Foodies!  Welcome back to the adventure…

After departing from Afghanistan, we have made our way south to Karachi, Pakistan where we boarded a ship and set sail.  We crossed the Arabian Sea and sailed southwesterly along the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula, into the Gulf of Aden, then turned north as we entered the Red Sea between Africa’s East Coast and Saudi Arabia.  We crossed into the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal and sailed northwest to the Adriatic Sea.  To the north of Greece we finally landed in the European nation of Albania, our next destination on this journey.  Albania is home to the Albanian people who number approximately 8 million worldwide with around 3.9 million living in Albania. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanians)

We hired a truck and driver and headed inland to farm country, the origin of our next dish.  Tave Kosi is classic farm fare.  It uses only the ingredients you might have if you worked a small farm in the rugged terrain of Albania’s interior. Tave Kosi is essentially baked lamb leg with an egg and yogurt custard. 

I have a confession to make.  I do not like the flavor of lamb shank.  I have tried it many times, and cannot get past the gaminess of this cut.  So please forgive me if I made a few minor tweaks to this recipe.  I swapped shoulder for lamb chops, a cut I find to be less gamy.

When searching for my recipe, I found that most of the recipes posted online were exactly the same.  The original recipe seems to come from a book called “The Best of Albanian Cooking” by Klementina and R. John Hysa.  I have edited the original recipe to include my change to Lamb Chops.  It is an inherently simple dish and therefore earns the distinction of a 1 rating for ease of preparation.

Here is one thing to note, and it is something that was not mentioned in any of the recipes I found.  The egg and yogurt mixture will rise and firm up like a quiche.  The mixture will envelope the lamb when it is finished.  I found the salt level and tang of the egg mixture to be very strong and would suggest going light on the salt and pepper when you season the yogurt. 

My overall opinion of the dish is mixed.  The lamb chops, although thoroughly overcooked by lamb chop standards, were actually quite tender when finished.  The egg yogurt mixture would have made a nice side dish, but was too intense to be easy to eat.  However, others at the table liked it, so maybe it was just my tastes. Perhaps with a light seasoning of the yogurt, it would be better.

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Rating:

Appearance:  2 out of 5

Aroma:  3 out of 5

Taste: 2 out of 5

Overall: 7 out of 15

Ingredients:

12 Lamb chops

5 Eggs

2lb Plain Yogurt Container

Salt and Pepper

2 tbsp Rice

1 tbsp All Purpose Flour

1 cup Butter

Baked Lamb With Yogurt (Tave Kosi) Preparation:

Arrange 12 Lamb Chops on a platter.  Season chops with salt and pepper to taste.

Dot each chop with a pat of butter using approximately 1/4 cup butter in total and bake at 350 degrees, basting now and then with pan juices, about 40 minutes, or until well browned. Turn the chops about half way through cooking.

Remove baking pan from oven.   Stir rice into pan juices and set aside while preparing yogurt sauce.

Whip 5 eggs till smooth.

Season yogurt with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir eggs into yogurt until smooth.  Set aside.
Melt remaining 1/2 cup butter and add flour.  Sauté briefly and stir until smooth.   Add yogurt mixture and stir until smooth.

Pour yogurt sauce in baking pan, stirring it with meat pieces, and bake at 375 degrees 45 minutes.

Serve hot.
Yields 4 to 6 servings.

That’s it for this episode.  Stay tuned for the next installation where we will be visiting Algeria, Africa’s second largest country by landmass where we will be exploring traditional couscous recipes!!  Bon Voyage and Bon Appetite!

Recipe from: http://www.household-management.com/cookbook/Baked-Lamb-With-Yogurt–Tave-Kosi-.html

Edited by Eric Ackerson at  https://myhungrytum.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/tave-kosi-albania-national-dish-day-3dish-2/

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2010 5:53 pm

    While I enjoyed the dish overall, I do agree with you on the custard. Perhaps if there had been something more to the custard I would have liked it more. Maybe the addition of a vegetable or something. However, I did like to get a bit of lamb, custard and red onion all in one bite – the acidity cut through the richness of the custard nicely. All in all a job well done!

  2. Uncle O permalink
    January 11, 2010 12:03 am

    Nicely done! Are you keeping track of your weight gain? Also your fodd costs? (Could end up being a good write-off!)

  3. January 29, 2012 10:59 pm

    I cooked this one with a bit of skepticism, and honestly I didn’t really like it. It was just too acidic for me. I had also never had lamb, and it was a bit too gamey for my tastes. My family likes lamb thank goodness, so it wasn’t a complete bust!

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