Recipes for some of my favorite Greek dishes

I have not personally made all of these and have not yet converted them to smaller numbers of portions. Each of these dishes listed is linked to the actual recipe below.

Appetizers

Dolmades - these are vine or grape leaves stuffed with rice. Alternatively, they are sometimes made using the flower petals from cucumber or zuchinni plants.
Greek Salad - This is more of my own recipe and is similar to the salads what we used to get in the tavernas in Athens. Note that there is no lettuce listed since they rarely serve lettuce in Greece and I prefer mine without it. You can add it if you prefer.
Saganiki - fried cheese. Great with fresh lemon squeezed over the top just before eating. I sometimes also top it with tzatziki. Yum!
Tzatziki - Cucumber, garlic and yogurt spread. It's great on bread or just about anything. Make sure everyone you will be around eats it too since its fairly heavy on the garlic

Main Dishes

Moussaka - Another popular casserole made with eggplant and mince, and topped with bechamel sauce (same topping as on Pastitsio).
Pastitsio (or pastichio) - a macaroni and mince (meat) casserole topped with bechamel sauce. Can also freeze and reheat in microwave with no taste loss for a tasty lunch.
Souvlaki in Pita - a delicious Greek fast food

 


 

Dolmades

  • 40-50 vine/grape leaves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup onions - finely chopped
  • 1 cup spring onions - finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dill - finely chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • good quantity of mint
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 lemons

Scald the vine/grape leaves, drain and allow to cool. Mix all the ingredients except the lemon and wrap in the leaves forming 'roll' shapes.

Line the bottom of a pan with some of the (unstuffed) vine leaves. Place the dolmades in outward radiating circles, evenly spaced in the pan close to one another. Pour in the juice of the lemons and enough water to cover the dolmades. Place a plate (not too heavy) on top to keep the dolmades from breaking open during cooking. Boil slowly until the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Let cool.

Serve with lemon slices or wedges.

 

Greek Salad

  • 2 medium ripe tomatos
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/4 pound of feta cheese
  • few thin green pepper rings
  • few slices of onion
  • kalamata (Greek) olives
  • olive oil and vinegar
Cut the tomatos into wedges and slice the cucumber. Mix. Add a few green pepper rings and onion slices on top. Top with cubes or slabs of feta cheese and add some olives around the edges. Sprinkle basil or oregano over the top. Serve with olive oil and vinegar. I like mine with only olive oil.

 

Mousaka

Serves 10-12. I think that about half of this recipe would fill a 9"x12" lasagna dish.

  • 4 pounds of eggplant (aubergines)
  • 2 pounds of finely ground beef
  • 1/2 cup (olive) oil
  • 2 large onions - finely chopped
  • 5 ripe tomatoes - skinned and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • salt & pepper
  • grated cheese preferably kefalotiri or romano, but fresh grated parmesan will work
  • oil for frying
  • bechamel sauce (about 1/2 amount prepared for pastitsio)

Peel, wash and cut eggplants into large, thin slices. Salt and leave them to dry. Brown meat with onion in the 1/2 cup of oil. Pour in wine, tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer uncovered until moisture is absorbed.

While simmering, fry the eggplant slices in another pan, then spread a layer in a large roasting tin and sprinkle with grated cheese. Next spread the meat mixture, then cover with another layer of fried eggplant. Sprinkle with more grated cheese and top with a thick layer of bechamel sauce (see pastitsio recipe above). Sprinkle a little more cheese on top to ensure a crisp surface.

Variation: You can add a layer of potatoes to the dish to make it firmer and easier to serve. The potatoes should be sliced and fried in the same manner as the eggplants.

You can also replace the eggplant with a similar amount of zucchini (or courgettes)

 

Pastitsio

Serves 10-12. I think that half of this recipe would fit in a 3-quart casserole dish. Casserole dish needs to be about 3 inches deep or more.

  • 2 pounds ziti, penne or rigatoni pasta
  • 2 pounds finely ground beef
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of mashed tomatoes (may be canned)
  • 1/2 cup (olive) oil
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter (for macaroni)
  • salt, pepper
  • 10 cups milk -warmed
  • 1 cup butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups grated cheese (kefolotiri or romano if available, otherwise parmesan, preferably fresh grated)

Heat meat and chopped onion with a small bit of water until water is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add oil and brown. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour in tomatoes and simmer.

Meanwhile, boil water in large saucepan, and cook macaroni according to directions. When done, drain and spread half in bottom of a large casserole dish and sprinkle with grated cheese. Spread mince evenly over the macaroni, then cover with rest of macaroni. Sprinkle with grated cheese again. Pour the 1/2 cup of melted butter over the mixture. Set aside for a bit.

Prepare Bechamel Sauce as follows.

Melt 1 cup butter, add flour and stir with wooden spoon. Stir in warmed milk, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Add grated cheese, keeping 2 tablespoons aside. When sauce thickens, beat eggs and add them slowly to the sauce.

Pour sauce over contents of casserole dish, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining two grated cheese.

Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees should do it) for 30-40 minutes until browned.

 

 

Saganaki

Fried cheese. The hardest part is actually finding the right types of Mediterranean cheese.

  • 1/3 lb. kefalograviera cheese
    (can also use kasseri,
    kashkaval, or manouri cheese)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • Flour
  • Olive oil for pan frying
Cut a slice cheese about 1/3 inch thick. Mix egg with the milk. Dip cheese into the egg mixture, then dip into flour. Fry in a bit of oil in a heavy frying pan on medium heat until golden brown (about 2 minutes). Then turn. Serve with crackers or crusty bread and lemon wedges.

 

Souvlaki in Pita

Common Greek fast food. Delicious served with french fries.

  • 1/2 - 3/4 pound lean meet (pork shoulder)
  • 8 small skewers
  • 8 pita breads
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 onions
  • 2 firm tomatoes
  • parsley
  • rigani
  • salt
  • pepper (black and red)
  • tzatziki

Wash the meat well, dice into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes and sprinkle with salt, pepper and rigani. Put 8 pieces of meat onto each skewer. Put them on grill to cook, turning occasionally.

Coarsly chop the onions and parslet. Wash the tomatoes and cut into thin slices. Cook the pitas one by one on the grill, coating them with butter.

Put one skewer of meat on each pita. Gently squeeze the pita and slowly draw out the skewer, leaving the meat on the pita. Add onion, parsley and tomato, add a dollop of tzatziki, then sprinkle with red pepper. Roll the pita, having first laid it on greaseproof or wax paper pieces. About half of the pita should be exposed above the paper when rolled.

Delicious!

 

Tzatziki

Garlic spread good on bread or pita bread.

  • 1 pint plain yogurt (mediterranean style if available)
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • teaspoon vinegar
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

If Mediterranean style yogurt is not available, you want to remove as much liquid as possible. Open container carefully, then pour liquid off top, then strain. I have found it works well to fold several layers of paper towel and place across the top of the container. Place a plate upside down on top, then flip the whole contraption upside down. The paper towel will absorbe excess liquid while the upside down container will contain the yogurt.

Shred cucumbers using vegetable grater. Squeeze to drain as much liquid as possible. Spread on a cutting board, cut several times to make strips smaller. Salt and let dry for a few minutes.

Gently stir cucumbers, garlic and yogurt together in bowl. Pour olive oil on top (can be mixed in if desired). Can be topped with a few (kalamata) olives and/or sprinkled with paprika.