Lamb stuffed with trahanas and wine grapes

Lamb stuffed with trahanas and wine grapes

Arní yemísto may trachánas kai stafília tou krassíou

Lyndey and Blair's Taste of Greece
Chris Chen

Trahanas has been popular in Greek, Turkish and Persian cuisine for 8,000 years and is made by combining cracked wheat with fermented milk or yoghurt. This mixture is then allowed to dry before being coarsely ground. Trahanas is usually made into a thick, nourishing soup with the addition of liquid and vegetables. The sweet version is typically eaten for breakfast, but here it counteracts the acidity of the wine. You can find trahanas at speciality Mediterranean and Middle Eastern delicatessens. Burghul, couscous, quinoa or even rice are good substitutes.


Quantity Ingredient
1.75kg leg or shoulder of lamb, boned

Trahanas and grape stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup sweet trahanas, (see recipe introduction)
1 cup water
3 cups white wine
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
135g wine or table grapes, cut into halves and deseeded
1/2 cup olives, pitted and cut into halves
2 tablespoons rigani or dried oregano


  1. To make the stuffing, heat half the oil in a medium frying pan, add the onion and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the trahanas and stir until coated with oil. Add the water and cook, stirring frequently as it begins to thicken. Then add 1 cup of the wine and cook until the grains are just tender and the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat and cool. When cool, add the walnuts, grapes, olives and rigani and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.
  2. Place the lamb, fat side down, on the workbench and spoon over the stuffing. Fold the meat over to cover the stuffing and, tucking in all edges, tie the lamb securely with kitchen string, ensuring that the stuffing is fully encased. If available, grape leaves or foil can be placed over the ends to prevent any stuffing escaping during cooking.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy saucepan over a high heat. Add the lamb and cook, turning frequently until golden on all sides. Pour over the remaining wine, reduce the heat, cover with the lid and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes, or until the lamb is very tender, making sure to check the liquid every 20 minutes and topping up with more wine or water if required. Alternatively, cook in the oven (see Lyndey’s note).
  4. Remove from the heat and allow the lamb to rest for at least 15 minutes. Remove the string, slice the lamb and serve drizzled with the pan juices and crusty bread.

Lyndey’s note

  • After browning, the lamb can be cooked in a preheated (180°C/160°C fan-forced) oven; cook for the same length of time, basting every 30 minutes.
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