If You Love Lamb, Try Provatina, a Greek Favorite

January 13, 2020

Roasted lamb is well-known as a favorite Greek dish whether it is lamb chops or a whole roasted lamb on the spit. Perhaps less well-known is provatina, or mutton, the grown version of the lamb with a stronger flavor and complexity. Mutton can be enjoyed roasted and cooked in all recipes which call for lamb. Marinating and slow-roasting are the keys since the meat can be tough, but an experienced chef can work wonders with provatina. There are many in Greece who would drive for hours just to enjoy the dish at their favorite restaurant or taverna. Enjoy the following recipe with either mutton or lamb, if mutton is not available in your area. The traditional side dish is roasted potatoes.

Roasted Provatina (Mutton)

3 large garlic cloves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons Greek dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

1/3 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil

8 mutton or lamb chops (about 2 pounds)

Place the garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt, and freshly ground pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice and the olive oil and process until combined. Place the mutton or lamb chops in a glass or ceramic dish large enough to contain them in a single layer and deep enough to contain the marinade. Pour the marinade over the chops and turn them to coat both sides evenly with the marinade. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for two hours or up to overnight.

To cook the chops on the grill, prepare your outdoor grill as needed. If using a gas grill, heat to medium high. Remove the marinaded mutton or lamb from the refrigerator and season with salt and pepper to taste and grill to desired doneness- for medium rare grill 4-5 minutes on each side, add an additional 1-2 minutes on each side for medium. If using a meat thermometer, the USDA recommended safe internal temperature for lamb is 165 degrees for medium well. Remove the cooked chops from the grill, place on a platter, tent with aluminum foil, and set aside to rest for ten minutes. Allowing the meat to rest before serving helps keep the chops juicy.

If preferred, the chops can be roasted in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the marinated chops in a baking pan and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning about halfway through the cooking process. When chops have reached the desired doneness, remove from the oven and tent with foil to rest as mentioned above. Serve with roasted potatoes.

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary

5-6 medium potatoes, halved or quartered depending on size

4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 large sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dry rosemary

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the potatoes in a large roasting pan and toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, salt, and pepper until evenly coated. Spread the potatoes out in the pan to form a single layer as much as possible and roast in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes to an hour or until the potatoes are tender, stirring about half way through the cooking process.

The mutton or lamb can also be roasted with the potatoes, just begin roasting the potatoes as above and about half way through the cooking time, place the marinated chops in the pan with the potatoes and continue roasting until desired doneness, as directed above.


Thessaloniki is well-known for its delicious local cuisine.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.


Mission…to Alonnisos, a TNH Documentary

O oceanic you sing and sail White on your body and yellow on your chimeneas For you're tired of the filthy waters of the harbors You who loved the distant Sporades You who lifted the tallest flags You who sail clear through the most dangerous caves Hail to you who let yourself be charmed by the sirens Hail to you for never having been afraid of the Symplegades (Andreas Empeirikos)   What traveler has not been fascinated by the Greek islands, drawn by the Sirens’ song of a traveler’s dreams? TNH and our video show ‘Mission’ marked the change of the season by transporting viewers into the heart of summer.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.