Mutton spit-roast and mutton casserole is a 2-in-1 recipe from our dear friend and partner of our Youtube channel Grill philosophy, George (Yorgos) Karagiannis. Gather your friends and enjoy mutton chops in two ways. The flavors of the two dishes blend harmoniously together, reaching a higher level of taste that can please everyone−even a very demanding fellow griller. Let’s see the process below!
For the marinade (per 1kg of meat):
For the garlic-infused oil:
For the casserole:
Start with marinating the meat. Cut the mutton chops at the point where the part of the eye starts. If the rest of the chop is long, cut it again to get shorter pieces, 6-7 cm long. Place all the pieces inside a large vessel. Peel the onions, put them in a blender with a little water, and pulse them until they are well blended. Add salt to the pulp; 60g of salt per 1kg of meat. This way you will make brine with onion juice. Add 1.5 tbsp of dried rosemary per 1kg of meat, as well. Mix well and pour the pulp over the meat. The mutton chops should be covered with the pulp. Before closing the vessel with its lid, add slices of lemon on top of the pulp. Marinate in the fridge for 12 hours at least.
After marinating the meat, clean the pieces of mutton by removing any onion residues. Grind the spices in a mortar and pestle. Then, add the spice blend to the meat, and mix well to distribute the spices evenly. Wait for a while, before adding the garlic-infused oil. Add 50ml per 1kg of meat. Let it rest for 2 hours approximately, so that it can absorb aromas.
Preheat the indirect wood-fired oven using dry hardwood. Refer to the video above for further detail. It takes 1 hour approximately to preheat the oven −maybe even less. Meanwhile, pile up the charcoals inside the fire cabin of your charcoal grill, place kindling (alcohol-soaked cotton) on top, and light the fire. The charcoals will be lit after 25-30 minutes. When they are fully lit, spread them inside the fire cabin, place the grilling grate on top, and grill the mutton chops (not the parts with the eye) over high heat until they look and taste like roasted meat. Use the pieces with the eye to make spit-roast, while waiting for the casserole.
Now, let’s cook the casserole.
When the oven’s temperature reaches 200⁰C (392⁰F), and the fire has burned down to embers, it’s time to place the clay pot inside the oven’s top chamber. Firstly, get the chops that you’ve grilled on the charcoal grill, place them inside the clay pot along with the leeks, sliced into rounds, the grated carrots (use a box grater), the baby potatoes, and the coarsely-chopped leaf celery. Put the tomatoes in a blender along with the tomato paste, blend them, and add the tomato sauce to the pot, as well. Finally, add salt and water. The recipe requires 1.5 lt. of liquid inside the pot. Slow cook your casserole for 1 hour approximately. While waiting, you have enough time to skewer the meat for the spit-roast.
After one hour of cooking in the oven, remove the clay pot with the mutton chops from the oven, and add the pasta (break it in three strands). Put the pot in the oven again, and cook for another half hour until the pasta is done and soaked in sauce. During this time, grill the spit-roast over medium heat. Add slices of onion between the pieces of meat on the skewers, and combine with roasted leeks. Refer to the video above for further detail. It takes a little effort to synchronize the two recipes, but you can have both dishes ready at the same time. Serve the casserole along with the spit-roast and the roasted leeks. Fine red wine and good company are a must.
Happy grilling and cooking everyone!