A Spicy, Versatile Meat Sauce

Spicy Ground Meat is one of the latest all-purpose sauces I try to have in my fridge or freezer, divided into cups.

Ground meat, from the local free-range veal of the island, is something that I use a lot. The dark red meat is delicious, but quite tough and stringy, and for that reason I prefer to choose a nice piece, usually soon after my butcher has slaughtered an animal, and mince the meat somewhat coarsely. Unlike most of our neighbors, I rarely make Keftedes, but sometimes I do make my kind of burger, mixing the minced meat with bacon, onion, herbs and plenty of breadcrumbs or ground rolled oats.



It makes no sense to cook less than one, or better two pounds of ground meat, as I did the other day. I mince the onions, garlic and add either grated carrots or mashed corn kernels, then the spices and flavorings, as well as the herbs. It only needs to briefly simmer with wine and lemon juice, and it is ready for many uses. It is insane to go to all the trouble and prepare just 2 cups of Spicy Ground Meat.

The resulting, pre-cooked Meat Sauce can be used simply with pasta, to make my kind of Eastern Mediterranean Bolognese with penne, tortiglioni, or any other large, hollow pasta shapes: Boil the pasta 1 min. less than the package suggests, reserving 1 cup of the water. Then warm the meat sauce over medium heat, toss with the pasta (3-4 cups meat sauce for 1 pound of pasta) and if it is too dry, pour in ½-1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Just before serving, I love to fold in coarsely chopped cilantro from the garden that makes everything more delicious. The sauce is flavorful enough, so you can omit the cheese; at least we do. (more…)


Read More

Chicken-Rice-Onion-Feta Pie with Olive oil-Egg Topping

Kotopita from Epirus, as we call it, is my friend Stamatia Stylou’s delicious version. Stamatia comes from Livena, a Greek village in southern Albania, or ‘northern Epirus’ as the region was called in my father’s time.  



Incidentally my paternal grandmother came from the broader area, but we have never seen her cooking or learned about any of the foods she used to prepare. She lived with my father’s sister and I don’t think I have ever seen her dressed with anything but her nightgown whenever we visited them. 

On Kea we make this delicious chicken pie with local free-range rooster—about three times the price of the supermarket chicken!



For a 15-inch round pan (serving 8-10)



Read More