You'll find Mediterranean people cooking lamb with milk or yogurt in a wide arc from Rome to Lebanon, including Apulia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Thrace, Kusidasi, and numerous countries in the Middle East. This Turkish version of the famous dish, Elbasan Tavasi, is particularly delicious, emerging golden-brown and bubbling from the oven.
Start the dish the day before, cook the lamb slowly, then chill it overnight so you can remove all the fat, gristle, and bone. Drain the yogurt for the sauce. I like to use split lamb shanks with the bone—the result is juicier and more flavorful than boned meat. The next day, assemble the dish, smother the meat in the yogurt sauce, and bake in the oven. Serve with a parsley salad or bulgur pilaf with walnuts.
If you own an electric slow-cooker, definitely use it to make this splendid dish. If not, follow the Note on for oven-braising.
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. Copyright © 2003 by Paula Wolfert. Photographs copyright © by Christopher Hirsheimer. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.