greek lamb sandwich

Greek Lamb Sandwich with Harissa Yogurt Sauce

I love pairing lamb with a medium bodied red like Liberty School merlot that has notes of cherry and vanilla. Roast leg of lamb is delicious but can be a lot of meat if you aren’t cooking for a lot of people. I like this recipe because the lamb shanks are braised until they are super tender and you end up with just the right amount of meat to make a few sandwiches. Since I am usually just cooking for two, we like to have enough food for dinner and then lunch the next day but hate letting any food go to waste.



For the lamb:

3 pounds lamb shank (3 medium shanks)

4 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

1 teaspoon chopped oregano

7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

juice from 1 lemon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium yellow onion, quartered

4 stalks celery, roughly chopped

4 carrots, roughly chopped

2 bay leaves


For the harissa yogurt sauce:

½ cup Greek yogurt

4 teaspoons harissa*


For the cabbage salad:

1/8 teaspoon mustard powder

¼ teaspoon fennel seed

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon chopped thyme

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

3 cups shredded green cabbage


4 ciabatta rolls



For the lamb:

Trim any excess fat from the lamb shanks. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic cloves until it forms a paste. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic paste, thyme, oregano, 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Add the lamb to a medium baking dish and pour the marinade over the top. Massage the marinade into the meat then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. Remove the meat from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Place a medium Dutch oven over medium heat, add the remaining oil and heat through. Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Add the onion, celery, carrots and bay leaves. Add the wine then cover the pot and bake until the meat is fork tender but not quite falling off the bone, about 1½ hours. Remove the shanks and let cool. When cool to the touch, thinly slice or shred the meat, discarding fatty pieces. Set aside in a covered bowl until ready to assemble the sandwiches.


For the harissa yogurt sauce:

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the Greek yogurt and harissa then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


For the cabbage salad:

Using a mortar and pestle grind the spices together. In a small bowl whisk together the spice mixture with the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the cabbage to a medium mixing bowl and add the dressing, tossing to combine.

To assemble: Slice the ciabatta rolls in half and spread the harissa yogurt sauce on the bottom half one of the rolls. Pile lamb on top followed by cabbage salad. Cut the sandwich in half crosswise then repeat with the remaining rolls.


Serves 4. 


*Note: harissa is a spicy North African paste and can be found at specialty grocery stores, most Whole Foods or online here.

lamb sandwich with harissa yogurt sauce
greek lamb sandwich closeup
overhead lamb sandwich
greek lamb sandwich with harissa yogurt sauce


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