Athanasia’s Cranberry Bean Stew (Fasolia Handres tis Athanasias)

Athanasia Moraiti, my late mother in law, cooked the mottled fresh cranberry beans together with potatoes and peppers, a combination I would not consider, if I had not tasted and loved it. Somehow I was under the impression that shelled beans and potatoes were not the best combination for a stew, but I was wrong. Fresh cranberry beans, called handres (beads), are sold frozen in Greece, so they cook very fast. Dried beans of any kind, not just cranberry, can also be used for this dish. Feta cheese, with its salty-sour taste, comlpements idealy the bean stew.


4 servings (more…)


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Slow-cooked Chickpeas with Orange (Revithia sto Fourno me Portokali)

On Saturday evenings, women on Sifnos and other Cycladic islands bring to the communal bakery their specially marked clay casseroles filled with soaked chickpeas that have been doused in fruity olive oil and seasoned with oregano or bay leaves. Covered, and often sealed with a piece of dough, the casseroles are set in the wood-burning oven, where they cook slowly all night. On Sunday morning, as the women return to their homes from church, they collect the pots and serve the tender, fragrant chickpeas for lunch, accompanied by olives and/or salted sardines and crusty bread to soak up the delicious juices. This recipe is my adaptation of the chickpeas KalomiraVrondamiti serves at her tavern, on the picturesque Vourkari marina, in Kea.


Serves 6-8 (more…)


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Shrimp Saganaki with Greens, Scallions, Herbs, and Feta

I tasted the tomato-less version of saganaki in Chalkidiki, in northern Greece, many years ago. It was prepared with the local mussels which were wonderful. But in my kitchen in Athens, as I was trying the recipe, I had to use frozen mussel since fresh ones were not readily available then, and the result wasn’t great. I decided to substitute shrimp for the mussel and I loved the dish, so I included it in my first book The Foods of Greece (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1993).


In my original recipe I gave the option of mussels or shrimp, but over the years I have decided that the shrimp’s sweetness is perfectly balanced with the lemony sauce, the herbs and the briny feta. It is a matter of taste, of course, but I definitely prefer shrimp for this soupy saganaki.


Serves 3-4


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