Veal Stew with Quinces (Moschari Kydonato)

This is my favorite winter stew. Quinces are equally delicious in savory and sweet dishes, and Greek islanders cook all kinds of meats with quince.

On Chios, they pair quinces with free-range chicken; on Crete, with lamb; and on Lesbos, with veal. As with most stews I make on Kea, our local veal shank is my first choice; but I also make pork with quince. I give the meat extra flavor by tying the cores of the fruit in cheesecloth and adding them to the cooking broth.

The combination of meat with quinces is not new. In the Roman cookery of Apicius we find similar stews, and quinces have been quite common in old traditional Greek cooking. Here, the firm, fragrant fruit, with its appealing tart flavor, is balanced with the sweet wine and the plums, or pearl onions.

This stew can be prepared almost entirely in advance and refrigerated. Then you need only simmer the meat in the sauce for a few minutes and caramelize the quinces just before serving. Accompany with potatoes, especially with David Tanis’ Olive oil and Garlic Mashed Potatoes, or with polenta.

Leftover sauce makes an unusual but excellent pasta sauce, or it can be a great topping for fava, instead of the caramelized onions.

Adapted from The Foods of the Greek Islands

Makes 4 servings      (more…)


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Youvetsi: Baked Lamb with Pasta in Tomato Sauce

Adapted from The Foods of the Greek Islands.

This is the basic recipe for the very popular meat and pasta dish. You can prepare it with beef –I very often make it with the local, beef-like, veal shank on Kea (pictured here) but also with free range, gamy chicken (see variations).

Although I think that orzo-pasta works best, you can also find the dish made with hilopites (the small squares, or the flat, ribbon-like traditional pasta).

Makes 8 servings       (more…)


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Liver Pâté with Thyme, Orange, and Pistachios

A fast and easy pâté that I make with the flavorful innards from the free-range turkey or the rooster we get for our festive winter lunches.


I no longer remember which pâté recipe served as the base for my adaptation. As is my habit, I start by sautéing the onions with olive oil, instead of butter or duck fat, adding orange jest and also pomegranate molasses, which give it a lovely, fruity flavor. I prefer to use unsalted pistachios, but if you cannot get them, salted are fine.

This pâté is an ideal appetizer or first course, served with a simple green salad, like the one we make from the Romaine and other lettuce leaves and arugula from the garden.

I am sure your friends will appreciate a jar of this homemade pâté, so you may like to double the recipe.

Serves 6-8, about 2 ½ cups 


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Lachmacun: Spicy Meat-topped Pita Bread

This is my most recent variation of Lachmacun, or ‘Arab Pizza’ as it is sometimes called. If you do not have time to make the dough, use a good quality, whole-wheat pita. Brush with olive oil and toast on the griddle or under the broiler. Then add the meat sauce and broil, again, briefly, with some halved cherry tomatoes.


Of course it is better with home-made bread dough –I prefer to use my whole grain one— which I shape into longish flat-breads, let them rest a bit, then mix one egg into my versatile Spicy Meat Sauce so that it more or less keeps its shape as it bakes, and can be picked up and eaten without falling apart, as most Lachmacun do.


Serves 2  (2 pieces)   (more…)


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Kapuska: Cabbage with Ground Meat and Farro

Kapuska bowls S

A kind of deconstructed stuffed cabbage leaves, this is a wonderful and most satisfying winter dish. It is inspired by Ozlem Warren’s Bulguru Lahana Kapuska.  I substituted wheat berries (farro) for the bulgur, and omitted the pepper paste, adding lots of Maras pepper. I used white wine and very little water as the cooking broth, plus some crushed canned tomatoes. (more…)


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Roasted Quince and Carrots with Garlic, Allspice and Turmeric

If you like, you can roast boned chicken legs together with the quince and carrots, basting them with the same combination of garlic, olive oil and spices (see variation).

chicken & quince carrots S

I know that quince is hardly a common ingredient for everybody, so I propose you roast instead a combination of cauliflower (briefly steamed first) and turnips if you have no quince. But do add a few tablespoons of lemon juice together with the olive oil and spices, since both cauliflower and turnips are sweet and lack the quince’s tartness that so well complements the roasted carrots’ flavor.

Quince cutting S

Quince Carrot Baked & UN S (more…)


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Tigania & Tomato-less Tigania

The first recipe is a more recent version with tomato, and is based on the tigania my neighbor, Zenobia Stefa, prepares every so often. The second is the older and most common tigania served in island taverns. Since in my house we hardly ever have occasions for a late night snack, I like to serve my tigania with tagliatelle or ziti, or with mashed potatoes, as a main course.



Serves 4-6


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