Posts Tagged ‘Meats’

Lamb Youvetsi

There are certain Greek meals that have a reputation for bringing back memories, youvetsi is one of them. And although I was not raised Greek, this is one of those meals that takes my husband back to his childhood just by smelling it. Especially when made in the crock pot, the aromas of lamb, tomato, and cinnamon fill the house with a comforting warmth that brings a permanent smile to his face.

The first picture is from a time I made youvetsi in Greece using a dutch oven, it turned out good, but this time using a slow cooker it was incredible.

Greek Soutzoukakia

I am sure you are wondering what the heck soutzoukakia is if you aren’t Greek, and the first time I heard someone mention it I replied, “Gazoontight” (Gesundheit)!

Although this dish has a ridiculously funny name, it has a seriously delicious taste. This particular version of the recipe comes from a part of Turkey called, Smyrni. This used to be a heavily inhabited by Greeks before the population exchange in 1922. It is basically a Greek meatball but instead of round it is egg shaped or like a sausage link.

Keftedakia (Greek Meatballs)

Greek food is very memorable. Whether it is the first time you taste your first gyro sandwich or maybe you are just a sucker for homemade baklava, but regardless of which recipe exactly it is, you definitely remember its origins! The first time I tasted keftedes (Greek for meatballs) or keftedakia (Greek for small meatballs) was kind of an unusual experience. We had just been visiting the in-laws for a couple of weeks and were leaving that morning to drive to Athens, about a 5-6 hour drive from north Greece. Being the wonderful mother-in-law that she is, she made us a picnic for the road.

Pork Chops and Cinnamon Apples

Mmmm… I hope those chops and apples caught your attention! Although they were not a very colorful lunch, they were certainly delicious!!!

We don’t eat meat very often here on the island, mostly because it is just really expensive, but pork is one of the more affordable choices. I (personally) am not a huge fan of anything pig — unless it is a Cuban sandwich, the Florida girl in me just loves those – but my husband enjoys every savory bite. Since he loves them, I love to make them for him, and pork is one of the easiest meats to cook. Especially, lightly battered and fried pork chops!

Chicken Souvlaki with a Lemon Oregano Marinade

One of the most popular street foods in Greece (maybe after gyros) is called souvlaki. Souvlaki is simply meat on a stick, the most common meat being pork or chicken. It is marinaded usually all night or at least all morning and then grilled to perfection and served either in a pita sandwich or just with homemade french fries and of course, tzatziki.  Souvlaki is also a simple Greek food that can be made at home with only a few ingredients! I love my souvlaki grilled out in the summer time and served with an ice cold glass of beer and homemade fries.
souvlaki 02 Chicken Souvlaki with a Lemon Oregano Marinade

Greek Souvlaki with a Lemon Oregano Marinade Recipe
4 T. Fresh lemon juice
3 – 4 T. EVOO Oil
1 T. red wine vinegar (or just wine)
1 tsp. Greek oregano
1 tsp. Greek thyme, optional
2 – 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 onion, sliced or cubed
salt and pepper

Beef Enchiladas…

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, really because I look for any excuse to eat Mexican Food…. Let me introduce you to my Greek-Mex: Beef Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Refried Black Eyed Peas, and Chips and Salsa!!!

cinco de mayo Beef Enchiladas...

First, I must give complete credit where credit is due too… there is a kindred blogger out there and she doesn’t even know it (or me). Maybe it is because we both adore Mexican Food Tex-Mex and have moved away from our home, the great country state of Texas! Anyway, she has a wonderful blog called, Homesick Texan, and shares some wonderful recipes, pictures, and stories!

Homemade Lamb Gyros

angle gyros Homemade Lamb Gyros

I would say that gyros (pronounced yee-ros) are Greece’s number one fast food item, with pizza, crepes, and club sandwiches following. These quick, satisfying, and very reasonably priced pita wraps are quite tasty too, especially when you find a busy store that makes them fresh. A typical gyro can be made with pork, chicken, or even lamb that is slowly cooked by rotating in circles (γύρω in Greek means to go around, hence the name!). The meat is cooked until crispy and then is shaved off and loaded into a pita with your choice of toppings. A Thessaloniki gyro is filled with meat, fries, onion, tomatoes, ketchup and mustard, and a common addition is tzatziki, spicy cheese, or a paprika sauce for a more intense flavor. If you do not like the crispy meat, a very common alternative is to order a souvlaki gyro. Souvlaki is pork or chicken that is skewered and grilled on an open charcoal fire. Both options are really great for an occasional on-the-go meal, but I want to share a much healthier homemade lamb gyro recipe. 

Beefteki, the Greek burger!

Beefteki yemista me feta tyri, Stuffed Beef Burgers with Feta Cheese

In two weeks from Monday (yesterday) it will be Clean or “Pure” Monday (the start of Greek Lent) and this officially begins the season of fasting. The fasting ranges from extreme devotion, traditionally meaning abstaining from all meats and seafoods, dairy, and oils; moderate fasting and abstaining from either meats or dairy; and occasional fasting and refraining from your choice of something, maybe chocolate and sweets. This is technically the last week of food indulgences. Two weeks before Lent, you are urged to give up meat, and one week before, you give up dairy, this is to allow your body time to adjust. I personally am going to definitely abstain from meat and I will try my hardest to not eat dairy or oil, but the last one will be the most difficult I think. I am going to at least try to only use only olive oil and no butters, margarines, or other oils. We will see how it goes, unfortunately I have never been great at discipline and abiding by the rules. BUT, don’t worry about my recipes getting too boring, I have a few un-Lent recipes already made and waiting to be posted for you, and I plan on getting a bit more creative in the kitchen!

If you have eaten many Greek meals, this should be high on your list of favorites. Unlike the traditional American hamburger, these juicy and tender beef burgers are typically served without bread (although it is common to eat in a pita on the go). They are, however, commonly served with Greek oven potatoes The combination of meat + potatoes + tzatziki is an unbeatable combination.
greek burger beefteki Beefteki, the Greek burger!

Stuffed Beefteki Recipe:

"Healthier" Homemade Calzones

I think the calzone is of Italian origin, but I am totally just assuming because it is after all, only a folded pizza, right? Well, even though this isn’t a Greek classic, it is well worth making for yourself. I finally got around to making this 2 hours before I had to leave for work, so I ended up letting the dough rise for only 25 minutes. Surprisingly enough, it was fantastic! The dough itself was soft and almost chewy, yet held the calzone together and complimented all the wonderful fillings. So, whether you have time to let the dough rise completely or not, this might just be your favorite new calzone recipe! 
Calzone mesa w "Healthier" Homemade Calzones
Homemade Calzone Dough: Makes 2 xtr-lg or 4 medium calzones
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup yellow flour
1 cup bread flour, plus more for kneading
1 2 tsp. dry fast acting yeast
1 – 2 tsp. salt
1 T. honey
1/3 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 1/2 cups water, 180-185° F
Calzone Double w "Healthier" Homemade Calzones
Add your sifted flours and salt together in a large, deep bowl, I use a thin metal one. Make a well and add your yeast, oil, and a spoonful of honey. Slowly pour the warm water over the mixture and mix with a large wooden spoon until forming a large ball. Flour your hands and begin to slowing knead the dough inside the bowl, I find this helps, adding as little as flour needed to keep dough from sticking. Once dough is workable, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and continue kneading until dough is soft, pliable, and not sticky. Clean the metal bowl and drizzle or spray with oil, add dough to bowl, turning to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place in slightly warm oven for at least 25 minutes but up to 1 hour. I switch on my oven to low for a few minutes and then leave the light on so the dough will have a warm, draft free place to rise. 
Calzone whole w "Healthier" Homemade Calzones
When the dough has doubled in size (or if you are in a hurry), begin to shape dough into 2 extra large or 4 medium calzones. Use olive oil drizzle, pesto, or tomato sauce as a sauce and then fill with desired toppings and cheeses. Bake in very hot oven (around 450° or higher) on a pizza stone if available, or at least a pizza pan with holes; bake until golden brown and bubbly!  
Zucchini and Salami Calzone:
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 medium red pepper, chopped
Handful of turkey salami slices
1 T. basil pesto
Mozzarella and parmesan cheeses
Calzone "Healthier" Homemade Calzones
Saute all the veggies in a non-stick pan with a little EVOO, cook until very tender. Spread pesto on 1/2 of the dough, spread some cheese, add a few spoonfuls of sauteed veggies and then line with turkey salami, finally, topping again with cheese. Fold over calzones, pinch the opening together, cut a few slits in the top, and drizzle with EVOO and a dash of course salt. Bake on high for about 10-12 minutes each or golden brown! Cool slightly and serve hot! 

Related posts:

Greek Beef Stifado

Braised beef with pearl onions in a rich sweet and spicy tomato sauce. Greeks definitely know how to cook a heart warming meal, and I am usually impressed with each new dish that I taste. There are more popular classics like gyros and moussaka, but there are also some more unknown classic Greek dishes that must be tried. This is certainly one of the must try dishes, and if cooked right you should have a melt in your mouth piece of beef with sweet and tender onions all complimented together with a sweet and spicy tomato based sauce! 
Beef Stifado w1 Greek Beef Stifado

Greek Beef Stifado Recipe:  Makes 2 servings
2-3 T. EVOO
2 good braising steaks of beef, whole or cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 small cinnamon stick
3 fl. oz. red wine
1 T. red wine vinegar
sprig of fresh rosemary, I didn’t have at the time
1 bay leaf, torn 
1 T. tomato paste or puree
1 1/2 – 2 cups hot water
8-10 pearl onions
1-2 tsp. raw sugar
s/p (salt and pepper)

Beef Stifado w Greek Beef Stifado

Sear meat on all sides in hot oil until pale golden brown, add garlic with cinnamon stick and cumin, cooking a few minutes or until very aromatic. Add wine and vinegar, cook until bubbling 3-4 minutes, add rosemary and bay leaf with tomato paste and half to three quarters of the hot water. Stir well adding salt and pepper, making sure to coat the meat. Cover and cook gently for 45 – 55 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary to retain sauce for cooking and later. Add onions and shake to mix with sauce and sprinkle sugar over onions, try not to stir from this point because the onions will fall apart after tender. Cook another 30 minutes on a low temperature, watching carefully and shaking the pan gently to coat and toss onions in pan. Remove the large herbs from pan and serve with potatoes, rice, or just a fresh salad. 
This can also be cooked in the oven, but you will need to increase the cooking time to almost 2 1/2 – 3 hours, adding onions the last 45 minutes. 
Beef Stifado w2 Greek Beef Stifado
This plate is traditionally made with rabbit, but since I couldn’t imagine cooking little Peter Rabbit or Thumper, I opted for the beef substitute. Either meat you choose is sure to be a delight. Stifado originates from ancient Greece, but was only popular among the more aristocrat crowd or families where the fathers were hunters, today it is more commonly enjoyed by all levels of society.  

Related posts:

Hi! My name is Jacquline. Welcome to my blog. I hope you will find some delicious Greek food recipes and enjoy the read along the way! Kali Orexi :)

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