All posts tagged: maincourse

Lamb Kleftiko

DISCLOSURE: I don’t condone stealing. There is just one instance, however, where I do pardon a certain group of thieves because their act of stealing eventually gave the world a glorious gift. The thieves I’m speaking of are the klephts, an indigenous population that descended from the Greeks who fled into the mountains to escape—and from which to fight—the Turkish occupiers of Ottoman Greece. The klephts snuck from the mountains to steal grazing lambs or goats, then retreated back to the mountains to cook their stolen goods. The meat was seasoned with oregano and thyme or even wild garlic, placed in an underground pit and covered with soil and branches on top to trap the aromas and the smoke while cooking. Doing so helped to avoid detection from their adversaries. This sneaky style of cooking later became known as kleftiko—the food of the “klephts” or thieves. Over time, the method moved from underground pits to outdoor wood-fired ovens. These days, we make LAMB KLEFTIKO indoors, baked in any conventional oven. The lamb is either assembled …

Psari Plaki (Baked Fish)

Seafood rules the tables of Greece. With so many islands and close mainland coastal waters, the Greeks have a bounty of choices to bake, fry, grill, or boil. It’s understandable, in a country of such passionate cooks, that everyone has a preference, and the different types of seafood often require different types of preparation. Sardines are best fried, octopus tastes great off the grill, and a boiled fish soup always hits the spot when cool winds blow in off the Aegean. Lucky for us, seafood reigns as all important in the Mediterranean diet all over the world. My personal favorite at home, when I have fresh cod or any other firm white fish: PSARI PLAKI. Baked fish never had it so good. Before taking a further bite out of this recipe, let’s break down the name. Psari simply means fish, while plaki refers to a dish baked in the oven with olive oil and vegetables. Onions, garlic, leeks, and celery are sliced and sautéed, then diced tomatoes are added to round out the flavors, creating …

Pork Celery Avgolemono

I can’t seem to get enough of pork celery avgolemono. Literally, I can’t get enough of it. (Hint: Mom, when you read this please feel free to make a batch). A chunky stew, pork celery avgolemono consists of bites of tender pork and celery, plus leeks and seasonings, finished with a bright egg lemon sauce. My mom makes it often throughout the year, and more often when it turns cold. But somehow often is never enough for me. The dish can be made two ways. If you choose stovetop, you’ll add and cook the ingredients in a large pot slowly as you would any stew. My busy-bee mom prefers the second method, via Crockpot, leaving the main ingredients to slow cook together for the day. With both methods, you add the avgolemono sauce as the final touch, mixed in with the pork and celery just before serving. Stovetop or Crockpot—the choice is yours. I include both recipes below. Both produce the same gratifying result. And both require a fresh loaf of bread to soak up …