Exohiko lamb, lamb from the countryside

exohiko lamb ingredients

 The most wonderful thing about Easter over here is that almost everyone takes to the countryside.

Very few Athenians are actually from Athens, with the exception of a minority like myself, whose origins are finely balanced between Palaio Faliro and Piraeus. So I always get a little jealous this time of year as everyone heads to their country homes, exohiko, and I stay behind. These aren’t typical holiday homes in the Western sense, they are normally the old country dwellings of grandparents, who left in their youth to find their fortune in Athens. Most likely the same grandparents are now happily retired and, having returned to their roots, gather the family around them. Especially during Easter. Spring comes rolling down the hills, bringing a well deserved break for everyone, and with it comes some wonderful food. 

exohiko lamb

So exohiko or not, I love celebrating this time of year by making a dish with the same name. It’s a baked spring lamb parcel, enveloping succulent meat in the company of peas, carrots and of course feta cheese. I undoubtedly have a soft spot for parcels in the oven, it’s such a fail-proof method of cooking, nothing can really go wrong. I also cheat a little, I normally pre-cook half of my ingredients before packing them in as it reduces the baking time. So here is my idea for something to put you in the Easter mood, with no need to make a dash for the countryside.

This is what you will need (Makes 6 portions):


  • 750 gr lamb, shoulder or leg
  • 200 gr frozen peas
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 potato
  • 1 onion
  • 200 gr feta cheese
  • 1 small bunch of dill, finely chopped
  • 1 packet of filo pastry (500gr)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying


What to do

  1. Clean and dry your lamb. Cook the onions until translucent and then seal the meat with some salt and pepper
  2. Add enough water in the pot to cover the lamb, bring to the boil and then simmer for approximately 45 minutes
  3. Finely chop the carrot and dice the potato
  4. Boil the carrots in the pot, meanwhile fry the potato in a separate pan
  5. Add the peas to the pot 2 minutes before the end for a quick boil and then drain everything
  6. Crumble in some feta cheese
  7. Get a sheet of filo pastry and fold in two. Place a portion of cooked lamb at one end, then two generous spoonfuls of each ingredient followed by a pinch of dill close to the edge but with enough space to turn
  8. Roll the parcel until you have used up your pastry and tuck the sides downwards
  9. Brush with olive oil before baking
  10. Bake at 180 °C in a preheated oven for 35-45 minutes

exohiko ready to wrap

Do enjoy and have a lovely Easter (Like the rest of Greece, I will have to wait until the next week!)

arnaki exohiko


with love from Athens

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