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.”
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.