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Tag Archives: greek

Sweet Macedonian Semolina Halva

The name may confuse you into thinking store bought ground sesame seed halva, but this an entirely different recipe.  Each is delicious in their own way.

Ingredients:

2 cups olive oil
2 lbs. coarse semolina flour
2 cups honey (or sugar)
1 cup chopped blanched almonds
8 cups water
ground cinnamon

Directions:

1.  Prepare a medium size bundt form by lining it with butter and wax paper.

2.  Heat the oil in a deep skillet.  Add the semolina and fry it until begins to turn golden brown.

3.  In a separate pot, heat the water with the honey (or sugar).  Boil it until it begins to get syrupy.  Using a ladle, spoon the hot liquid into the semolina mixture while whisking all the time.  Keep stirring until all the syrup has been incorporated and add the almonds.

4.  Pour the halva into the prepared form and set it aside to cool.  Turn the halva out on a platter and peel away the wax paper.  Sprinkle it with cinnamon and serve.

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Okra with Potatoes

A fantastic vegetarian dish that has all the flavor of the Greek Islands.  This dish can be served with a tomato and feta salad and a side of bread.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. fresh or frozen okra.  If using fresh okra, below you’ll find some tips about how to clean and prepare this vegetable
vinegar
1 cup olive oil
3 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
2 lbs. potatoes, pared and cut into large chunks
vegetable stock

Directions:

1.  If using fresh okra, sprinkle them with a bit of salt and vinegar.  Then toss together.  After a few minutes, rinse them and spread on a tray to air dry.

2.  Pour the oil into a large pot, add the onions and garlic and fry until translucent.

3.  Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and bay leaf and simmer together for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the okra and potatoes, and enough stock to cover it.  Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.

Enjoy!

P.S. – here are a few tips on how to prepare fresh okra:

You have to be very gentle when handling okra.  If you break the pods and any seeds come out, they will turn your soup “glutinous” (slimy) when you cook them.

Fill a large bowl, half full with water – about 2 quarts, and pour 1 cup of plain vinegar.  Begin by rinsing them.  If you’re leery about this step, simply rinse them under running water in a colander.  Lay out a large kitchen towel, and spread the rinsed okra on it to dry as you’re working.

Take an okra in one hand and paring knife in the other.  You want to peel off the outer layer of the cap.  Don’t cut straight across or you’ll cut into the pod.  Cut it on a diagonal, round and round, so it looks like the okra has a little pointed hat.  Use a few okra as practice pieces, it really isn’t difficult at all.  Put the cleaned okra into the vinegar water and proceed with the next one.  When you’re done with all the okra, strain them from the vinegar water.  You can use them right away in a recipe or put them in a air tight bag and freeze them for later use.

Greek Chickpea Chili (Revithia)

The Greeks are very fond of beans and we must say this is one of Athens Family Restaurant favorites to make at home.  The chickpeas are cooked until very tender and the savory sauce goes well with fresh, crusty bread, feta cheese and a glass of wine.  It’s a one pot meal that is easy to make, is a great warmer-upper and you can serve it on the Greek fasting days, too.

Ingredients:

1 lb. canned chickpeas
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbs. ground cumin
2 cups crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
2 large carrots, sliced
2 whole chili peppers
vegetable or chicken stock (enough to cover all the ingredients in a large pot)
parsley (optional)

Directions:

1.  Boil the chick peas in plain water for 10 minutes and then drain, throwing away the frothy water.

2.  Put all the ingredients into a large pot, cover with stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot.

3.  Simmer the chick peas for 20-30 minutes, adding more stock as needed.

It’s now Opa! ready…

Chicken Cacciatore

Cacciatore means “hunter’s style”.  It was originally developed in central Italy but has many variations. We’re going to share with you the Athens Family Restaurant style recipe.

Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless chicken (white or dark)
3/4 cup flour, all-purpose
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 qts chicken broth
4 cups tomato paste
2 tbsp oregano leaves, dried, and crushed
1 ½  tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs. green pepper, red peppers (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 ½ cups onion, chopped
3 lbs. linguine, cooked and drained
Salt, black pepper, sugar to taste
Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

1.   Heat oil in a large sauté pan or skillet.

2.  Add chicken and cook until browned.

3.   Add chicken broth, tomato paste, oregano, garlic, pepper and onion, salt, black pepper, sugar.

4.  Heat to a boil. Then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.

5.  Heat until internal temperature is 140°F, or higher for 15 seconds.

6.  Hold at 140°F or higher.

7.  Serve and Enjoy! Add Parmesan cheese as desired.

Shrimp with Rice (Garides Pilafi)

This is a wonderful one-pot meal that is easy and extravagant at the same time.  You can choose to peel the shrimp before cooking, or leave them with their shells on to be removed when you are actually eating this dish.

We’ve found that the shells add that much more flavor to this recipe.  Keep a supply of napkins handy because it does get messy.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. shrimp, rinsed and cleaned
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup red pepper or pimento, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 tsp. oregano
2 cups long grain rice
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions:
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Brown the onions and garlic until translucent.

2. Add the celery, red pepper and mushrooms and cook it all together until the vegetables have softened.

3. Pour in the tomatoes and spices and cook for 10 minutes then add the rice and shrimp. Give it all a good stir and let it simmer for 15 minutes. You’ll have to keep an eye on it, and add water as necessary until it is absorbed and the rice is cooked to your preference.

4. A few minutes before it is done , fold in the feta cheese.

Recipe of the Week: Half Roasted Chicken with Spanakorzo

In the old days, almost every village home in the Greek islands kept chicken coups and many of them still do today.  The villagers consider chickens as natural “weed killers” for the areas that they are left to roam because they pick at any small growing greens.   They are raised primarily to supply a home with eggs.  Once a hen has aged and stops laying them, she’s considered not worth keeping and soon will become the main course for dinner.  A fresh chicken makes the best stock and the meat tastes, well….like chicken.  Really GOOD chicken!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup orzo
2 marinated chicken halves
olive oil
lemon
2 cups spinach
8 grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp. garlic, finely chopped
1 oz. kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. onion, finely diced

Directions:

1.  Rub chicken with a little garlic, oregano, olive oil and sea salt.

2.  Roast in oven at 350 degrees until golden and juices run clear (chicken may also be precooked at 300 degrees, cooled, refrigerated and reheated at time of service).

3.  Cook orzo as directed, drain, and cool.

3.  Saute spinach until wilted in olive oil, with lemon, garlic and onion.   Toss in tomatoes, orzo pasta and chicken broth.  Season with salt and pepper.

4.  De-glaze chicken pan after roasting chicken with chicken broth.  Add garlic and olives.  Remove from heat.  Add oregano and a dash of olive oil and lemon.

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Lemonato

Lemonato is often served in the winter months when the lemons are dropping off the trees.  This zesty marinated chicken dish can be served with the traditional potatoes, but for a nice variation, try a pilaf or side of green beans.

Cook Time: 1hr 40min

* Serves 4 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into quarters
  • 3 1/2 lbs of potatoes
  • juice from 2 to 3 medium sized lemons
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 heaping tbsp of oregano
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 355 degrees Fahrenheit

2.  Rinse off chicken and pat dry.

3.  Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters, lengthwise.

4.  Salt & pepper chicken and potatoes

5.  Place chicken in roasting pan and add potatoes around the chicken.

6.  Add oregano, garlic, olive oil & lemon juice, distributing evenly across the pan.

7.  Add water and roast at 355 degrees for total of 1 hour and 40 minutes.  Half way through (at 50 min) turn over the chicken.  Check periodically to make sure there is still a little water in the pan.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more if needed.