If Albania is your next destination, try these dishes

If Albania is your next destination, try these dishes

If you are one of soccer fans, it means that you watched the performances of each of football teams in European Championship, and one of them was Albania. For most of fans it was either the first time hearing about this country or the first time they had such a nice impression. And if you are one of those adventurer who loves exploring new countries, cultures and cuisines then don’t  let slip this opportunity. Albania offers delicious, healthy Mediterranean food. Albanian cuisine offers a truly unique blend of Mediterranean flavors. Representing a rich historical past, the food of modern Albania has been developed over millennia reflects a variety of influences. East meets west in many discernible ways throughout Albanian culture, but nowhere is it more evident than in the cuisine. In case you go and enjoy any of the following dishes, take at least these 2 recipes with you.

Albanian baked lamb with rice

Albanian baked lamb with rice

One of the most typical Albanian dishes is Tavë kosi which is a national dish in Albania. Lamb with rice and yogurt doesn’t immediately appeal, but it turned out to be very good indeed, the same sort of dish as moussaka.



  • 70g/2½oz butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.2kg/2lb 12oz boned lamb shoulder, cut into 5cm/2in cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 60g/2¼oz long-grain rice, rinsed
  • 50g/1¾oz plain flour
  • 600ml/20fl oz Greek-style yoghurt
  • 4 free-range eggs, beaten
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to finish
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cooking method

Preheat the oven to 180 C/160 C Fan/Gas 4.

Heat 20g/¾oz of the butter and the olive oil in a large lidded pan over a high heat. Brown the lamb in batches.

Return all the lamb to the pan. Add the garlic, oregano and 200 ml/7 fl oz water. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered with a lid, for about 45–60 minutes until the lamb is tender.

Stir in the rice, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 3 liter/5¼ pint earthenware or other ovenproof dish.

Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan, add the flour and make a roux, cook for 2 minutes, then take off the heat. Add the yoghurt and mix well, then return to the heat and cook gently for a couple of minutes. Take off the heat, add the beaten eggs and season with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over the lamb and rice mixture, grate fresh nutmeg on top and bake for 40–45 minutes until starting to turn golden-brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a simple lettuce salad.

Recipe source: Rick Stein, BBC Good Food

Rabbit and onion casserole (Lepur çomlek)

This recipe, from Adriatic Croatia/Albania, uses garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, baby onions and red wine.

Try it with rice or orzo pasta.


  • 2 rabbits, cleaned and jointed (ask your butcher to do this, if you like)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 100ml/3½fl oz olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 200ml/7fl oz red wine
  • 350ml/12fl oz chicken stock, hot
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 600g/1lb 5oz baby onions or shallots, peeled and left whole
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cooking method

Wash the rabbit pieces well, then pat dry and put in a bowl with the bay leaves and pour over the vinegar. Cover and set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge.


Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil in a flameproof lidded casserole pan over a high heat and fry the rabbit pieces in batches until they are well browned all over. Return all the rabbit pieces to the pan along with the bay leaves from the marinade.

Add the garlic, allspice berries, cinnamon stick and red wine. Bring to the boil. Add the chicken stock, tomato purée, tomatoes and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan, transfer to the oven and cook for 1–1½ hours until the rabbit is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the baby onions gently, stirring frequently, until just golden-brown all over. This should take about 10–15 minutes. Add the sugar halfway through to help them to caramelize. Tip the onions into the pot containing the rabbit just before it’s done and stir through.

Serve with rice or orzo pasta.

Recipe source: Rick Stein

Image source: Farma Sotira



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