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Easter lamb soup in three bowls

Easter lamb soup with dolma

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
  • More effort
  • Serves 6 - 8

Try something different this Easter with a spectacular seasonal lamb soup. A special occasion soup from Crete, it's served with dolma - stuffed vine leaves

  • Gluten-free
Nutrition: Per serving (8)


  • 50ml olive oil
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (wild oregano is best, available online)
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 800g lamb shoulder, off the bone, cut into roughly 5cm cubes (ask your butcher for the bone)
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1 cos lettuce (about 500g), thinly sliced
  • 100g finely chopped parsley
  • 100g finely chopped mint
  • 250g finely chopped dill
  • 200g spinach, shredded
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 lemons, juiced, plus wedges to serve
  • chilli flakes, to serve (optional)

For the stuffed vine leaves (dolma)

  • 80g short-grain rice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 200g jar preserved vine leaves (you’ll need about 20)


  • STEP 1

    Tip the oil, bay, oregano, onions, garlic and leeks into a large pan over a medium heat and cook gently for 10 mins until the onions and leeks soften and become translucent. Add the lamb along with the bone, and cook for 10 mins more until the lamb has started to colour. Pour in the wine, then add the lettuce. Cook for 5 mins more. Tip in 3 litres cold water, cover and cook for about 1 hr until the lamb is tender.

  • STEP 2

    Meanwhile, tip the herbs into a bowl with 1 tsp sea salt and the spinach. Rub the salt and herbs into the spinach with your hands for 2 mins until the herbs and spinach have wilted. When the lamb has had 40 mins, add half the herb and spinach mix to the pan and continue cooking for the remaining 20 mins. Remove the bone and discard, then remove the meat using a slotted spoon, transfer to a board and shred using two forks. Return the meat to the pan, remove from the heat and add the rest of the spinach mix.

  • STEP 3

    To make the dolma filling, spoon a third of the lamb and spinach from the soup into a bowl using a slotted spoon, then mix with the uncooked rice, 3 tbsp of the oil, the lemon juice and some seasoning. Spread the vine leaves out on a board and put a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of each. Roll each one up into a cigar shape, tucking in the ends as you go to enclose the filling. Arrange the dolma in a single layer in a small saucepan and drizzle with the rest of the oil and a ladleful of the soup. Cover and cook for 20 mins over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  • STEP 4

    Whisk the eggs with the lemon juice and a ladleful of the soup, then tip this back into the pan with the rest of the soup, then stir (off the heat) until the soup is glossy and silky. Put about three dolma in each bowl, ladle over the soup, sprinkle with some chilli flakes, if you like, and serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over.

Goes well with


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