Lamb Ciste*



  • 1 recipe Irish Soda Bread
  • 8 lamb chops, trimmed
  • 2 or 3 lamb kidneys or about 1/2 a beef kidney
  • About 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed dry herbs – (Italian Seasoning)
  • 1 teaspoon dry powdered mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 or 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil, more, if needed
  • 1 medium size yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 or 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 small parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 small leek, including some of the green, chopped small and chopped
  • About 1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Beef broth – (homemade or commercial)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 500°. Make bread dough for scones, reducing amount of sugar to 1 tablespoon and adding a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon mixed dry herbs. Pat out into a disk about 1 inch thick and refrigerate while preparing rest of recipe. Trim lamb chops of excess fat and scrape away any meat and fat that are on the top end of the bone. Trim any fat off the kidneys and cut into ½ inch thick slices. Mix flour, herbs, mustard, pepper and salt together and put into a small paper bag. Shake to distribute well. Add chops and kidneys, a few pieces at a time and shake gently to coat with the seasoned flour. Set aside. Heat olive oil in heavy skillet and a few at a time, brown chops and pieces of kidney. Set aside. Add diced onion and sauté in any remaining oil and fat until just beginning to brown. Add a bit more oil if necessary. Add remaining vegetables and about ½ a cup of broth and cook for about two or three minutes or until hot through and beginning to soften. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Set aside. Set lamb chops around outer edge of 8 or 9-inch casserole dish so that bones stick up around the edge making a sort of a spiked crown. Put sauteed kidneys, if using, in bottom of pan and add vegetables. Add enough additional beef broth to just cover vegetables. Set aside and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, remove dough from refrigerator and gently pat out to about half an inch thick. Cut a circle that is the same size as circumference of top of casserole. When vegetables are cool, lay disk of dough on top in such a manner that bone ends of the lamb chops stick up around the edge. Paint top with egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water. Place in center of oven and bake for 5 minutes at 500°, then reduce heat to 350° and continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes. To serve, cut ciste (crust) into wedges. Serve each person 1 or 2 wedges of ciste, 1 or 2 chops and spoon vegetables and gravy over crust.
Ciste is neither a stew nor a meat pie. The meat and vegetables are partially cooked on top of the stove, then ?ciste? or crust is placed on top and it is finished in the oven. It has long been a favorite with Irish West Country farm wives as a hearty old time comfort food. Though it calls for kidneys, you can omit the organ meats and replace them with two or three more chops.

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