|Posted by STRATOS ALEXIOU on June 12, 2014 at 4:30 AM|
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: WINTER/ “Cheesy Chicken & Potato Casserole”
1 cup sour cream, 2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese or Colby Jack cheese½ cup milk½ tsp garlic powder¼ tsp ground black pepper28 oz frozen diced potatoes (hash browns) with onions and peppers, thawed salt3 cup shredded cooked chicken4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives or thinly sliced green onion
1. Heat the oven to 180C.
2. Stir the soup, sour cream, 1 cup cheese, milk, garlic powder and black pepper in a medium bowl.
3. Spread the potatoes in the baking dish. Season the potatoes with the salt and additional black pepper. Top with the chicken. Spread the soup mixture over the chicken. Cover the baking dish.
4. Bake for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the mixture is hot and bubbling. Uncover the baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
5. Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the bacon and chives before serving.
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: WINTER/ “Roasted RataToulle“ (Mixed Baked Vegetables)
2 large tomatoes, cut in ½ inch slices
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut in ½ inch cubes
2 eggplants, cut in 1 inch cubes
2 medium size green zucchini, cut in ½ inch slices
1 large red onion, sliced thinly
1 green pepper, cut in ¼ inch slices
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
5 Tbs. chopped parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 180C degrees.
Layer potatoes in deep baking pan which has been coated with olive oil. Place one half of the tomato slices over the potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer the next six ingredients (eggplant, zucchini, onion, green pepper, garlic, parsley) and end with the remaining tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour olive oil evenly over the tomatoes and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour in a 180C degree oven.
This tasty dish is very popular in Greece and is a summer best seller, especially when served with thick slices of feta cheese.
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: WINTER / “Tabouli-Stuffed Tomatoes„
6 medium size tomatoes
1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
4 cups warm water
2 green sweet chilies, finely chopped
1 cup feta, crumbled
4 spring onions, finely chopped
4 Tbs chopped Italian parsley
1 Tbs minced sun dry tomatoes
4 Tbs olive oil
Juice of a lemon
Salt and pepper
Prepare tomatoes by cutting off a disk from the top and spooning-out the inside of the tomatoes. Gather the inside of the tomato in a mixing bowl.
In the meantime soak the bulgur into the warm water for 15 minutes. Add the softened bulgur into the tomatoes, the peppers, the parsley, the sundried tomato, the lemon, the olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix well and put the filling into the tomatoes.
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: [SPRING] “Easter Soup with Lamb Offal” (Magiritsa )
1 lb/500 g lamb's liver
½ lb/250 g onions
½ bunch dill
1 ¼ cups/250 g rice
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp butter
freshly ground black pepper
• Finely chop the dill
• Cut the onion in brunoise
1. Wash the lamb offal thoroughly with cold water. Place a saucepan full of salted water on high heat. When it begins to boil add the offal. Let boil for a few minutes until half cooked and remove.
2. Strain well and cut up into small pieces.
3. Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add the finely chopped onions and cook until transparent.
4. Add the chopped offal and cook unitl lighlty browned.
5. Add the water and the herbs. Bring to a boil.
6. Add the rice.
7. Continue to simmer until the rice and offal are cooked well, and then remove the pan from the heat.
8. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl with the lemon juice, until frothy.
9. Spoon a ladel of the liquid from the soup into the egg mixture and continue beating until the egg and lemon sauce is frothy.
10. Pour this quickly into the hot soup, making sure that it does not boil or else the eggs will curdle.
11. Season the soup with salt and pepper, and serve hot.
*There are regional variations to this soup that contain spinach or lettuce, or don't have rice.
*Each family swears by its own recipe, which is passed down from generation to generation.
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: SPRING/ “Koukia me Aginares’’: Broad (Fava) Beans & Artichoke Hearts”
In Greek: “κουκιά με αγκινάρες’’, pronounced “kook-YAH meh ahg-kee-NAH-ress”
Cook Time: 50 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes Yield: serves 4-6
• 3 1/3 pounds of fresh broad (fava) beans
• 8-12 fresh artichoke hearts, cut in half (or 8-12 whole frozen artichoke hearts)
• 1 large spring onion (or 2 small), cleaned and chopped
• 3 stalks of fresh garlic, cleaned and chopped
• 3/4 cup of olive oil
• 1/2 cup of water + 1/2 cup of water
• 1 tablespoon of sea salt
• juice of 1 lemon
• juice of 3 lemons (for fresh artichoke hearts)
Trim the ends of the beans and trim along the seam to remove the tough fiber.
If using fresh artichoke hearts, put in a bowl, salt lightly, and sprinkle with the juice of 3 lemons to prevent them from turning black.
If using frozen artichoke hearts, do not defrost before cooking.
In a pot, add the oil, 1/2 cup of water, onion, garlic, salt, and beans. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently so they don't stick to the bottom.
Drain the artichoke hearts and add to the pot with 1/2 cup of water (if using frozen artichoke hearts, decrease the water to 1/3 cup). Stir well, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 40 minutes or until artichokes are fork tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add juice of 1 lemon, cover and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
• This dish can be prepared with shelled broad beans and tender pods only.
• Instead of the onion and garlic, add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill.
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: SPRING/ “Hortopitakia”: Savory Turnovers with Spinach or Greens and Herbs
In Greek: χορτοπιτάκια, pronounced “hor-toh-pee-TAHK-yah”
Prep Time: 40 minutes Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 48 minutes
• 1 pound of spinach, fresh or frozen (washed, chopped)
• 1 pounds of fresh fennel (leaves and stems), coarsely chopped
• 1 spring onions, finely chopped
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 1/2 cup of water
• sea salt to taste
• freshly ground pepper to taste
• olive oil for frying
• 1/2 batch of fresh phyllo dough (or 2 pounds of puff pastry, or 25 pieces of phyllo circles, or 1 lbs of phyllo sheets)
• flour for work surface
Make the filling: Sauté the fennel and spring onions in the oil until limp. Add water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 15-20 minutes. Add spinach, salt, and pepper. Cook uncovered over medium heat until the spinach wilts, about 3-5 minutes. Drain very well.
Note: Fennel requires a longer prep time than some other herbs. If not using fennel, simply sauté the onion, add water and other chopped greens and herbs, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until wilted, then drain well.
Prepare the dough: Work on a floured surface. If using homemade phyllo dough, take a piece and roll it out to the thickness of 3-4 sheets of copier paper (setting 6 on a pasta machine). If using commercial puff pastry, roll it out to the same thickness.
Form the pies: Work on a lightly floured surface with dry hands.
1. Using a saucer or other circular guide around 4 1/2 - 5 inches in diameter, cut out a circle of dough.
2. Place a heaping forkful of the spinach and herb mixture on one side of the circle (see photo).
3. Fold the other half of the circle over to form a half-moon shape.
4. Using a fork or your fingers, pinch the edge all the way around to seal. (If the dough isn't sealing well, wet fingers with water and pinch closed.)
5. As each pie is made, set on clean cloth to keep dry. (This is the point at which these can be frozen for later use. See below.)
To use commercially prepared phyllo sheets:
1. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature before opening the package and using.
2. Cut phyllo sheets lengthwise into 2 1/2 to 3 inch strips (usually about 3-4 strips per sheet).
3. Cut several sheets (and more as needed) into squares.
4. Place a small square at one end of the phyllo strip and place 1 teaspoon of filling on the square, about 1 inch in from the edges (this helps keep the filling from leaking through).
5. Fold up into a triangle.
Continue until dough and filling are used (about 25 pieces for the circles, about 50 for the triangles).
In a medium to large frying pan, heat 1/3 to 1/2 inch of oil over medium-high heat. Fry to a light golden on both sides. (Add more oil between batches if needed, and wait until heated to start frying.)
Drain on baking racks placed over absorbent paper towels or in a colander, and serve.
Prepare ahead and freeze: After forming the pitakia (small pies), place on flat trays covered with a towel. Cover with a towel and foil and place in freezer. Once frozen, they can be placed in plastic bags and kept in the freezer for several months. To cook, defrost for 10 minutes and fry as above.
Yield: 25 half-moon pies, 50 triangles
More About Phyllo Dough
• Phyllo Basics: Recipe, Rolling Out
• Shopping for Phyllo
Greens in Greek Cooking
• Wild & Cultivated Greens
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: SUMMER/ “Briam” - Recipe for Roasted Vegetable Casserole in a Savory Sauce
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 6-8 Servings
• 4 large potatoes
• 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
• 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
• 2 cups tomato sauce
• A pinch of dried mint
• A pinch of dried basil
• 1 lb. zucchini, sliced in thin rounds
• 4 large tomatoes, sliced
• Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and boil the potatoes in generously salted water until nicely tender. Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds and set aside.
Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a sauce pan and saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add the 1/2 cup wine and saute a few minutes more.
Add the herbs, tomato sauce, and about a 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
While the sauce is simmering, drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a rectangular baking pan. Layer half the potato slices on the bottom of the pan. Season them lightly with salt.
Top the potatoes with the tomato slices. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Next add the remaining potatoes. Season lightly with salt and top with half of the tomato sauce.
Next add the zucchini and top with the remaining sauce. Bake in a 150 degree oven for one hour or until the vegetables have cooked through and are very tender.
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: SUMMER/ “Horiatiki Salata”: Greek Salad
In Greek: “χωριάτικη σαλάτα”, pronounced “haw-ree-AH-tee-kee sah-LAH-tah”
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
• 4-5 large, ripe, tomatoes
• 1 large red onion
• 1 cucumber
• 1 green bell pepper
• 1/4 pound (113.5g) of Greek feta cheese, sliced or cumbled
• dried Greek oregano (rigani)
• sea salt
• top quality extra virgin olive oil
• 1 dozen Greek olives (Kalamata, green Cretan olives, etc.)
• pickled pepperoncini hot peppers (garnish)
• 1 tablespoon of water (optional)
Wash and dry the tomatoes, cucumber, and green pepper. Clean off the outer skin from the onion, wash, and dry.
Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized irregularly shaped chunks, removing the core. Salt lightly. Slice the cucumber into 1/4-inch slices, cutting slices in half (whether or not you peel the cucumber is a personal choice). Salt lightly. Slice the pepper into rings, removing the stem and seeds. Salt lightly. Slice the onion into thin rings.
Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper and onion in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with oregano, pour olive oil over the salad, and toss. Just before serving, place the feta on top of the salad, either as a slice or crumbled (as in photo), and toss in some olives. Sprinkle the cheese with oregano (and pepper if desired), mix the oil and water and drizzle over the top, and serve, garnished with hot peppers.
Yield: Serves 4-6
• Anchovies: if you like this salty fish, add a couple to the salad before tossing.
• Capers: toss in a few if you like them.
More Salad Choices
• Simpler Version: Tomatoes & Feta
• Greek Potato Salad
• Salad with Beets & Garlic
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: SUMMER/ “Moussaka” - Classic Greek Moussaka with Eggplant
INGREDIENTS: Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
DIRECTIONS: Prep the Vegetables:
Using a sharp peeler, partially peel the eggplants, leaving strips of peel about 1 inch wide around the eggplant. Slice the eggplant in to 1/2 inch slices. Place the eggplant slices in a colander and salt them liberally. Cover them with an inverted plate that is weighted down by a heavy can or jar. Place the colander in the sink so that excess moisture can be drawn out. They will need to sit for at least 15-20 minutes, preferably an hour. The salt also helps to remove some of the bitterness of the eggplant.
• 3-4 eggplants, about 4 lbs. total
• 1 lb. potatoes
• 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (or lamb)
• 2 large onions, finely diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup red wine
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
• 1 cup tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes)
• 2 tbsp. tomato paste
• 1 tsp. sugar
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 cups plain breadcrumbs
• 8 egg whites, lightly beaten (reserve yolks for bechamel)
• 1 cup grated Kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese
• 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks)
• 1 cup flour
• 4 cups milk, warmed
• 8 egg yolks, lightly beaten
• Pinch of ground nutmeg
Peel the potatoes and boil them whole until they are just done. They should not get too soft, just cooked enough so that they no longer crunch. Drain, cool and slice them in 1/4 inch slices. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Add a splash of water to the egg whites and beat them lightly with a fork. Add breadcrumbs to a flat plate.
Rinse the eggplant slices and dry with paper towels. Dip the eggplant slices in the beaten egg whites and then dredge them in the breadcrumbs, coating both sides. Place breaded eggplant slices on baking sheets and bake at 400 degrees for 1/2 an hour, turning them over once during cooking.
When eggplant is finished cooking, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Make the Meat Filling:
In a large sauté pan, brown the ground beef (or lamb) until the pink color disappears. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add wine to pan and allow it to simmer and reduce a bit before adding cinnamon, allspice, parsley, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and sugar. Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered for approximately 15 minutes so that excess liquid can evaporate. It should be a drier, chunkier, tomato sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make the Béchamel Sauce:
Melt butter over low heat. Using a whisk, add flour to melted butter whisking continuously to make a smooth paste. Allow the flour to cook for a minute but do not allow it to brown.
Add warmed milk to mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously.
Simmer over low heat until it thickens a bit but does not boil.
Remove from heat, and stir in beaten egg yolks and pinch of nutmeg. Return to heat and stir until sauce thickens.
Assemble the Moussaka:
Lightly grease a large deep baking pan (lasagna pan). Sprinkle the bottom of pan with breadcrumbs. Leaving a 1/4 inch space around the edges of the pan, place a layer of potatoes on the bottom. Top with a layer of eggplant slices.
Add meat sauce on top of eggplant layer and sprinkle with 1/4 of the grated cheese. Top with another layer of eggplant slices and sprinkle once again with 1/4 of the grated cheese.
Pour the béchamel sauce over the eggplant and be sure to allow sauce to fill the sides and corners of the pan. Smooth the béchamel on top with a spatula and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Bake in a 170-degree oven for 45 minutes or until béchamel sauce is a nice golden brown color. Allow to cool for 15 – 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
You can make this dish ahead up until the béchamel sauce and refrigerate. Make the béchamel sauce right before you intend to bake it.
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: AUTUMN/ „LAMB FRICASSEE”
• 2 bunches spring onions, finely chopped
• 2 lettuces, roughly torn
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 1 or 2 lemons
• 1 cup olive oil
• 3 eggs
• 1.5 kg leg lamb, boned
• 1/2 bunch celery leaves
• 1/2 bunch dill
• salt and pepper DIRECTIONS:
-Cut the meat into pieces
- Heat the oil in a saucepan
-Brown the meat on all sides - Brown the onions
- Add 2 cups of water and bring to the boil.
Simmer until almost done. Place the vegetables, celery leaves, lettuce and dill in the saucepan.
- As soon as they are done, remove the saucepan from the heat and prepare the avgolemono [egg + lemon] sauce
- Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs
- Squeeze the lemons
- Beat the egg yolks
- Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks
- Stir the yolks into the whites
- Add the lemon juice
- Gradually add the gravy from the saucepan, stirring constantly so that the egg does not curdle.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan
- Shake the saucepan so that the avgolemono sauce covers all of the meat evenly
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: AUTUMN/ „CHICKEN WITH HONEY”
1 chicken (1-1.5 kg)
2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ground nuts (pine nuts, walnuts)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup ground almonds, 1 beaten egg
1 cup olive oil,1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp melted butter 1. Mix the nuts and beaten egg and sprinkle the basil and one pinch of black pepper over the chicken. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper and stuff it with the almond mixture. Sew up or skewer the opening and tie the wings and legs close to the body. Prick the skin with a fork and brush it with the oil and honey mixture. Roast the chicken in a moderate oven (180°C), basting it frequently with the melted butter and its own juices, for approximately 1½ hours or until the juices run clear.
2. You are now ready to enjoy your chicken with honey.
COUNTRY: GREECE MENU: AUTUMN/ „Kakavia” (famous fish soup)
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 medium onions, peeled and sliced thin - 4 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1,5 kg (3 pounds) cheap mixed white fish, gutted and cleaned
- Half a kilo (1 pound) shrimp, cleaned
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced - salt and black pepper - 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 6 slices thick toasted bread Heat half of the olive oil in a large soup pot and add the onions. Cook covered over medium heat until wilted, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, reserving the vegetables and pouring the stock back into the pot. Add the fish and shrimp to the stock and simmer for another 20 minutes.
Remove the fish with a slotted spoon, de-bone it, breaking the flesh apart into small pieces. Add it back to the soup pot together with the vegetables. Add the diced potatoes, season with salt and pepper and simmer the soup, partially covered for 2 hours until it becomes thick. Add more water if necessary. Sprinkle the parsley and remaining raw olive oil into the soup just before removing from the heat.
To serve, place six slices of thick toasted bread on the bottom of six bowls and ladle the soup into each of the bowls. (6 servings)