Greek lamb chops with fresh green beans in tomato sauce. Amazing!

3 Aug

The star of this meal has to be the beans in tomato sauce.  I remember the first time I ate these beans.  It was in an ice cream parlour in Gouves, Crete.  You may be surprised at the venue but, apparently, in Greece, at the time, you were not taxed for selling ice creams but were for selling food.  Anyway, the owner and cook was a man named Yianni.  What a fantastic man he was. If I live to be a hundred I don’t think I will ever meet anyone as kind or gentle.

The first time we went to his ice cream parlour we asked if he did food.  Yes, he answered, what would you like?  We asked him if he did goat, one of our favourite foods in Greece.  Of course, he said, so we ordered goat with fried potatoes and a Greek salad.  He served us with a large beer for Terry and a glass of homemade red wine for me (in a half pint glass) and left us to savour the moment.  Two seconds later we saw him leave via the side entrance on his bike, returning after 10 minutes with all the ingredients he had bought from the butcher and the grocer.  You can’t get fresher than that!  The food was delicious.  My one complaint was that, after eating a table weighed down with food and drinking 2 large beers and 2 large wines, the bill only came to 4 Euros.  Of course we said it was not enough and forced a 10 Euro note into his hand.  He was mortified and insisted we had at least one more round of drinks on him.  I don’t think I can remember walking home that night.  We became close friends after that and, during our two-week holiday, he enjoyed making us traditional Greek meals that we enjoyed eating.  Apart from the food Yaya made for us and the food we have in Lardos, Rhodes, I don’t think I have ever tasted better!

We were in Gouves at the time of the Omagh bombing.  Friends that we met there lost a brother who could only be identified by the keys in his pocket.  Such a senseless waste of life.   Yianni was fantastic and arranged for their immediate return to Ireland while the holiday reps partied in a nearby bar and would not help.  His actions were typical of the Greek people, something to remember in the troubled times Greece is currently experiencing.

I hope you try this vegetable dish.  It will remind you of sunny days spent in Greece.  The sauce is divine, mopped up with crusty bread.  We even eat this cold as, like so many Greek dishes, the taste improves with age.  I served this with Greek lamb chops and the combination was amazing.  Absolutely delicious!

Greek Lamb Chops with fresh green beans in tomato sauce         Serve 4

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb runner beans
  • 2 medium potatoes (I used Maris Piper)  peeled and cut into thick chip shapes
  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper

For the chops

  • 8 lamb chops
  • 4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil in a large pan for about 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften but does not change colour.
  2. Top and tail the beans and cut off the edges then slice into long pieces.  Add to the onions and saute for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, season well and add just enough hot water to barely cover the vegetables.  Cover and simmer for about an hour or until the potatoes are tender.
  5. In the meantime, put the chops in an oven proof dish with the whole cloves of garlic.  Lay the rosemary sprigs on top then drizzle with olive oil.  Season and bake in a preheated oven (200C/190C fan/Gas 6) for 3/4 hour or until chops cooked to your liking.  Turn once during cooking to brown both sides.
  6. Add the parsley and cook for a final 10 minutesServe

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