Lamb Pita Pockets with Tomato-Ginger Compote

City Winery chef Andres Barrera slow-roasts lamb until tender, then stuffs it into warm pitas along with pickled red onions, feta cheese and a bright-flavored tomato-ginger compote (also great on a burger or cheese plate).


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  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Four 1-pound lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 warmed pita breads, halved
  • Tomato-Ginger Compote, for serving
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest with the oregano, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and 2 teaspoons of salt. Rub the mixture all over the lamb shanks.

  2. In a large enameled, cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil. Add the shanks and cook over moderately high heat, turning a few times, until browned all over, about 7 minutes. Cover and bake the shanks in the oven for about 2 hours, until very tender.

  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the onion with the vinegar; season with salt. Let stand at room temperature, tossing a few times, until softened, about 20 minutes.

  4. Transfer the lamb shanks to a bowl. Set the casserole over high heat. Add the water and boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Pour the liquid into a small bowl and skim the fat from the surface.

  5. Pull the meat from the bones in large shreds, discarding the fat and gristle. Transfer the lamb to a bowl. Add the cooking juices and toss well. Season with salt.

  6. Spoon the shredded lamb into the pita and spread a thick layer of the Tomato-Ginger Compote on top. Garnish with the pickled red onion and feta and serve.

Make Ahead

The shredded lamb and pickled onion can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days. Rewarm the lamb before assembling the sandwiches.

Suggested Pairing

Lamb is a classic match for the red wines of Rioja in Spain.

Contributed By Photo © Cedric Angeles Published April 2009

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