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.

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Tigania

Serves 4-6

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, with some fat, cut in 1 ½ -inch cubes
Olive oil
Salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup semi-sweet red wine; or 1/4 cup red wine and 1/4 cup Greek
Mavrodaphne or Marsala wine
1 cup good-quality canned chopped tomatoes with their juice
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 whole pieces allspice
1 stick 3-inch stick cinnamon
1-2 good pinches Maras or Aleppo pepper (see Mail-Order Sources), optional

1 pound cooked tagliatelle or ziti, drizzled with olive oil, or mashed potatoes or crusty bread to dip in the sauce.

If the meat is too fatty, discard some of the fat, leaving some so that the dish will have flavor. Wash the meat and pat dry.

In a deep skillet, warm 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, and sauté the meat till it becomes brown on all sides. Add salt and some pepper and stir. Add the tomato paste, and sauté 2 more minutes, till the meat looks glossy. Add the wine, and when it starts to boil, add the cubed tomato.

In a mortar, briefly crush the allspice and peppercorn, and add them to the meat, along with the cinnamon and about 1/2 cup water, adding a little more water or wine, to cover the meat by 2/3. When the liquid starts to boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the meat is tender. If there is excessive liquid in the pan, uncover, and boil on high heat to reduce. Discard the cinnamon stick and serve immediately, in the pan, with plenty of country bread and, of course Greek wine.

If you serve with pasta, toss the cooked oiled pasta with the meat in a heated bowl.
You can also refrigerate when cool. Before serving, warm the meat over low heat.

Tomato-less Tigania

This is the old, winter version and probably dates back to the time when tomatoes were non-existent or considered exotic. In our part of the world, tomatoes were introduced via Italy, and didn’t become the ubiquitous ingredient they are today until the beginning of the twentieth century. Flavored with plenty of lemon juice and wild savory or oregano, the original tigania is irresistible and is better enjoyed with just crusty bread.

Serves 6
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, with some fat, cut in 1 ½ -inch cubes
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup white wine
3-4 tablespoons –or more, to taste– fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns briefly crushed
Large pinch of dry wild summer savory or dry Greek oregano
Fresh country bread to dip in the sauce

Prepare meat as above. In the skillet warm 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, and sauté the meat until brown on all sides. Add salt and pepper, and toss. Pour in the wine, the lemon juice, and the honey, and when the liquid starts to boil add the crushed peppercorns and half the savory or Greek oregano. Add more wine or water, to almost cover the meat. When it starts to boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the meat is tender. If there is excessive liquid, uncover and boil on high heat to reduce. Taste and correct seasoning, sprinkling with the more savory or oregano.

Serve immediately, in the skillet, with plenty of crusty bread and Greek wine.

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