Mediterranean Dinner Party

Dinner parties for four are getting to be regular events at our house. Vince and I love to entertain! Since LCW column deadlines keep on coming, these intimate meals have been excellent opportunities for me to taste test and photograph recipes. This week, we opted for an easy entree that was originally published in this very column way back in 2007. Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t made Lamb and Black Bean Chili in over 15 years. Tweak here and tweak there, and it’s even better than before. The Mediterranean Broccoli Salad features a Greek yogurt-based dressing and is teamed with sweet dried cranberries and salty roasted pistachios. Dessert came from my second cookbook, Celebrate Everything. So similar to the taste of baklava with very little time invested, Greek Nut Wedges, if you have any leftover, would be delish with a hot cup of coffee. All three recipes can easily be doubled or tripled to include even more guests. Add a simple appetizer and a good bottle (or several) of red wine and dinner is served. Happy Cooking!

Lamb and Black Bean Chili

Substitute 1 heaping cup of frozen seasoning blend for the onion and bell pepper if you don’t want to spend extra time chopping. That’s what I did! For a detailed demonstration, please visit the Lowcountry Weekly website or @chefdebbicovington on YouTube or Instagram to watch this short cooking video.

1 pound ground lamb

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 small onion, diced

1 small green or red bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons diced jarred jalapenos, drained

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1½ tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic salt

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 (14.5-ounce) can beef stock

1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

3 (14.5-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

Cook ground lamb in a dry skillet until browned and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Drain lamb on paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon of pan drippings. Add onion and peppers to skillet and cook until tender. Stir in garlic and diced jalapenos and cook for an additional minute or two. Reduce heat and add cocoa powder, cumin, oregano, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic salt and nutmeg. Mix together and cook until fragrant. Add the beef stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in cooked lamb and black beans. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

Mediterranean Broccoli Salad

Substitute mayonnaise or Miracle Whip for the Greek yogurt if you prefer a creamier texture.

For the dressing:

1 (16-ounce) container Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic

2 teaspoons dried dill weed

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the salad:

6 to 7 cups chopped broccoli florets

¾ cup dried cranberries

1 (3-ounce) package julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes

½ cup pitted kalamata olives, cut in half lengthwise

1/3 cup chopped red onion

Crumbled feta cheese

Roasted and salted pistachios, to garnish

Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. Place salad ingredients in a large bowl, add dressing and mix well to combine. Garnish with pistachios before serving. Serves 8.


Greek Nut Wedges

Reminiscent of the flavors of traditional Greek baklava, but much easier to prepare!

1 (14-ounce) package refrigerated pie crust dough (2 crusts)

¼ cup sugar, divided

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon lemon juice


1/8 cup sugar

Walnut halves, toasted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll each piece of dough into a 9-inch circle.  Dust each piece with 1/8 cup sugar.  Roll sugar into dough with rolling pin.  Transfer one circle to a lightly greased cookie sheet.  For filling: in a small bowl, combine walnuts, 1/3 cup sugar, honey, cinnamon and lemon juice.  Spread nut mixture evenly over dough circle on cookie sheet.  Top with remaining dough circle.  With tines of a fork, press edges to seal and prick dough.  Brush with milk.  Trim excess dough around edges.  Sprinkle with 1/8 cup sugar.  Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry starts to brown.  Cool on cookie sheet on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  While warm, cut into 16 wedges.  Cool completely.  Garnish with walnut halves. Serves 8.

The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of three cookbooks, Celebrate Beaufort, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. For more great recipes and to view her cooking demonstrations, visit and subscribe to Debbi’s YouTube channel. Debbi’s website address is She may be reached at 843-525-0350 or by email at