Meat & Poultry

Braised Lamb with Celery (Selinato)

1 hour and 30 min Cook
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This is the King of dishes, or at least it was in my house growing up.  I remember eating Selinato on special holidays like Christmas and New Year, or whenever my dad wanted it because it was one of his favorite dishes.  Many people in Greece use pork to make this dish, but we didn’t eat a lot of pork in our house because my paternal grandfather thought it was a dirty animal. My paternal grandfather was born somewhere around 1887 and he grew up living and working next to Turkish Muslims until the great population exchange that happened between Greece and Turkey in 1923.  Perhaps growing up side-by-side with the Turkish Muslims and the forbidden Muslim meat, perhaps this idea rubbed off on my grandfather.  As Greek Orthodox Christians we are not restricted from eating pork; however, many of my family members including myself, my sister, my dad, and my aunt Anna, my father’s sister, didn’t prefer pork. 

This braised lamb is cooked in water along with some simple ingredients including Greek celery, onions, green onions, and fresh dill.  It is a simple dish because the only spices added are salt and pepper.  The braised lamb and celery are then covered with the famous Greek Egg Lemon Sauce, which you can find under “Sauces & Dressings.”  

egg lemon sauce

Egg Lemon Sauce

Greek Celery

Greek Celery has a different look and taste compared to the celery we have here in the the US.  The Greek celery is very similar to the Asian or Chinese celery, which has think stalks and bushy leves at the top.  The US Celery has a few leaves and is light green, instead of the dark green leaves of the Greek Celery.  We use the entire stalk and leaves to make this dish. 

greek celery

Greek bushy celery stalks and leaves

Braised Lamb with Celery (Selinato)

Braised Lamb with Celery (Selinato)

You can use shoulder, tenderloin, chops, or leg of lamb to make this tasty lamb and celery braised dish that is covered with a rich lemony sauce which I have listed under “Sauces and Dressing” called Avgolemono, which translates to “egg-lemon.” This is cooked with plenty of dill and green onions.
prep time
20 min
cooking time
1 hour and 30 min
total time
2 hours + standing


  • Stock Pot

  • Colander

  • Dutch Oven


  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 8 cups of water

  • 2 lbs. (1 kilo) Greek Celery, (blanched)

  • 2 lbs. (1 kilo) Leg of lamb, cut into 2-3 inch cubes

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 8 green scallions

  • 1 bunch fresh dill (at last 1 cup chopped)

  • 2 Tsp. Salt

  • 1 Tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  • Prepared Egg Lemon Sauce (Avgolemono-see under Sauces & Dressings)



Method 1: Dutch Oven

Clean and wash your celery. Do not cut; leave the stalks and leaves intact. Take a large stockpot and fill it with salted water. Bring to a boil. Submerge the celery and bring it to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove the celery and place it in a colander to drain. Set aside. (You can do this step the night before)
Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven and on medium heat start to sauté your lamb pieces until all the red has disappeared; approximately 5 minutes.
Add the onion, green onion, and fresh dill and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the water and reduce the heat to medium. Continue to simmer for 1 hour.
While this is cooking, make your egg-lemon sauce. See Egg Lemon Sauce (Avgolemono Sauce) under Sauces & Dressings. Once you make the sauce, place it in a thermos or flask to keep warm. Or, you can set aside and then heat up on low heat for 5 minutes once the lamb and celery have finished cooking.
Now that your lamb has cooked for 1 hour, add the pre-blanched celery and combine it with the braised lamb pieces. Continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
Remove from the heat. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Add the lamb and celery on each plate, then top with a nice heaping spoonful of Egg Lemon Sauce.

Method 2: Crockpot

Take your pre-blanched celery and add it to your 6-quart Crockpot. Then add the onions, green onions, dill, salt, and pepper. Then add your meat. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low. Set to the "warm" setting and prepare your Egg Lemon sauce. Serve immediately.
Enjoy! Bon Appetit! Kali Orexi!


You can find Greek celery in most Asian including Chinese and Korean supermarkets, and it is readily available. I’ve never had a hard time finding it. However, it is a seasonal vegetable so when it is available, I buy plenty of it, blanch it, and then store it in the freezer for up to 1 year. Regardless, even when making this dish, and you are starting with fresh celery, the process begins with blanching the celery in the first place. It’s not until ½ way through the cooking process of the lamb that you incorporate the celery, so either way, you have to blanch it. I say blanch, but it’s more like cooking for 5 minutes, instead of a 30-second blanch. Also, you can do this recipe in the crockpot for 6 hours on a low setting, and it is much easier; you literally throw everything in the crockpot, and when you come home, your dish is ready.

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Sauces & Dressings

Egg Lemon Sauce (Avgolemono)

5 min Cook