Trahanas has been popular in Greek, Turkish and Persian cuisine for 8000 years and is made by combining cracked wheat with fermented milk or yoghurt. This mixture is then allowed to dry before being coarsely ground. 






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Trahanas is usually made into a thick, nourishing soup with the addition of liquid and vegetables. The sweet version is usually eaten for breakfast, but, here, it counteracts the acidity of the wine. Burghul, couscous, quinoa or even rice are good substitutes; however, you can find trahanas at specialty Mediterranean and Middle Eastern delis.

You will also need heatproof string, such as butcher’s twine, for tying up the lamb.


  • 1 x 1.75 kg leg or shoulder of lamb, boned


  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium (250 g) red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup sweet (glykos) trahanas
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) white wine
  • ½ cup (50 g) walnuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup (135 g) wine or table grapes, deseeded and halved
  • ½ cup (75 g) olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 tbsp rigani or dried oregano

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. To make the stuffing, heat half the olive oil in a medium frying pan, add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until softened. Add trahanas and stir until coated with olive oil.  Add one cup water and cook, stirring frequently as it begins to thicken. Then add up a cup of wine and cook until the grains are al dente and the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat and cool. When cool, add walnuts, grapes, olives, rigani, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

2. Place lamb fat side down on the bench and spoon over stuffing (see Note). Fold meat over to cover stuffing and, tucking in all edges, tie securely with string, ensuring that the stuffing is fully encased. If available, grape leaves or foil can be placed over ends to prevent stuffing escaping during cooking.

3. Heat remaining olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add lamb and cook, turning frequently until golden on all sides. Pour over remaining wine, reduce heat, cover and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes or until the lamb is very tender, making sure to check the liquid every 20 minutes and top with more wine or water if required. Alternatively place in a 180’C (160’C fan-forced) oven and cook for the same length of time, in which case only baste every 30 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices and crusty bread.

• Leftover stuffing can be baked in a separate dish and served alongside the lamb. After browning, lamb can also be cooked in the oven (180ºC/160ºC fan-forced) for the same time.