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Greek Recipe Collection To Die For: Basics And Beyond

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These are Greek recipes we think everyone should know. We’re including basics, to the more elaborate Greek recipe worth trying. Don’t worry, we’ve added enough instructions for anyone to be able to follow these recipes easily without feeling overwhelmed.

Greek Cottage Cheese

Image Source: Imants Kaziļuns

This is a traditional Greek cheese recipe and it is important that the milk has not been homogenized – fresh from the cow is best! The recipe below is adapted from our much-loved copy of Tess Mallos’ The Complete Middle East Cookbook. Making mizithra is not particularly complicated, but the draining does take time so you must be patient. You can use the remaining whey to store feta cheese.

This recipe makes about 600 grams.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Heat the milk in a large heavy pan until lukewarm and stir in the salt. Remove from the heat. Crush the rennet tablets in a small bowl, add cold water and stir until dissolved. Slowly pour the rennet liquid into milk, stirring the milk gently. Cover the pan with a lid and leave it at the side of the stove, undisturbed, for half an hour. When set, break up curds by stirring with a whisk and let the curds settle.

Line a big sieve or colander with a double layer of muslin or cheesecloth. Put it over a large basin to catch the drips. Ladle the curds into the prepared strainer using a skimming spoon. Let the curd drain for a while, then scrape down the cheese from the sides of the blow and tie the ends of the cloth together. Suspend from a hook over a basin and leave to drain at room temperature for about another 6 hours. Then suspend it from a shelf in the fridge, over a bowl to catch the drips, and leave it for another 12 hours to drain thoroughly. Turn out of the cloth and store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Orange and Date Salad

Image Source: Edgar Castrejon

This Greek recipe makes a dish that looks particularly pretty with blood oranges but you can also use ordinary ones. If the oranges are not naturally sweet, sprinkle over a little icing sugar before serving.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Combine orange juice and honey in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring from time to time to help the honey to melt. Boil until reduced by about a third, then let cool.

Peel the oranges, remove any pith, and slice the oranges into thin rounds. Remove any pips. Arrange in overlapping circles on a dish, sprinkling with the mint leaves and any juice that escaped when slicing the fruit. Stone the dates and halve them. Arrange them on top of the orange slices. When the syrup is completely cold add the orange flower water and pour evenly over the salad. Chill until required.

This makes a refreshing summer dessert and can be served with thick yogurt.

Piquant Lobster

Image Source: Jeremy Bezanger

This is the Greek recipe we think is appropriate for date night. It takes a little bit of effort, but it’s worth it in the end.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Clean the raw lobster over a plate, retaining its juices. Sautee the ingredients excluding the butter in a big casserole and add the lobster. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until done. Turn off heat and add the butter. Serve with rice pilaf or roast potatoes.

Tirokafteri-Spicy Greek Dip

Image Source: Lena Kudryavtseva

This Greek recipe is a version adapted from “The Real Greek at Home” by Theodore Kyriakou and Charles Campion.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade and roast the onions whole, skins and all, until the insides are really soft. This can also be done by wrapping the onions individually in foil (shiny side inwards) and tucking them into the embers of the barbecue. Discard the skins and squeeze the pulp into a bowl. Chop the pulp. Crumble or grate the other cheeses and add to the onions with the other ingredients. Mix well and season to taste. The result should be quite coarse in texture so resist the temptation to chuck it all in the food processor!

Greek Red Cabbage

Image Source: CHUTTERSNAP

Red cabbages are only available in the depths of winter in some areas and are quite hard to come by. This has more texture and is not as wet as the traditional boiled cabbage recipe. The idea is to retain as much of the red color as possible and aim for a sweet and sour flavor that goes well with rich meats and poultry. So here’s a red cabbage recipe in Greek style. A handful of roughly chopped walnuts is nice at serving time.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Rinse the cabbage briefly and drain. Heat the olive oil in a big pan and saute the onions until translucent. Add the cabbage, stir it around until coated with the oil, and cook for a few minutes. Pour over the red wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the apples and honey. Simmer until the apple is soft and most of the liquid is absorbed. Slice the plums into quarters and add to the pan. Simmer for a few minutes more. Season to taste with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, and serve.

Lemon Chutney

Image Source: Elisa Cobalchini

This Greek recipe is so good, we get requests often. This is a recipe we have been using for about 15 years and has evolved depending on what has been available wherever we happen to be. There are no hard and fast rules with chutney making as it does not require the same precision concerning setting points as, for instance, making marmalade, so you can adjust the spices to taste. Chilies can be replaced with finely chopped root ginger, currants with sultanas etcetera. The important ingredients are sugar and vinegar as they are preservatives. White wine vinegar gives a lighter colored product but is difficult to come by so we usually use red wine vinegar.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a jug. Finely chop the lemon peels. Put everything, including the lemon juice into a heavy-bottomed stainless steel saucepan and simmer until soft and thick, stirring frequently. Pack into sterilized jars, dividing the spices between the jars. Cover with hot melted wax to seal and then screw on the lids tightly. Keep in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks for the flavor to mature before using. As long as the seal is not broken the chutney will keep literally for years, but it will darken with age.

Variation: 

The spices in this Greek recipe can be infused in the vinegar first and then strained out if you don’t want whole spices in the end product. To do this put the spices and the vinegar in a saucepan, bring to a boil and then allow to cool before straining.

Ice Cream Christmas Pudding

Image Source: Christiann Koepke

This is quite simple to make and makes a refreshing change from the usual steamed version.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Soak all the fruit in the brandy for several hours or overnight.

Soften the ice cream so that it is pliable but not molten. Whip the cream until stiff and fold into the ice cream along with the fruit and any remaining brandy. Mix well so that the fruit is evenly distributed. Pack into a freezer-proof pudding basin and smooth the top. Cover with waxed paper and foil. Freeze overnight.

To serve, remove waxed paper and foil. Dip the pudding basin briefly into warm water to release and invert onto a serving plate. Decorate with a holly sprig.

NB: If you want to flame it, put a small firm flameproof receptacle such as a stainless steel egg cup into the bottom of the mold before putting in the ice cream to form a cup to hold the brandy.

Roast Courgettes with Rosemary and Feta

Image Source: helena munoz

This is a simple recipe for Greek-style courgettes that is certainly worth giving a try. Have it as a side or a vegetarian main.

Directions:

Wash and top and tail fresh young courgettes and cut into rough chunks. Toss them in olive oil and spread them evenly in an ovenproof dish just large enough to take them all. Sprinkle with the leaves from two sprigs of rosemary. Bake in a hot oven for about 20 minutes or until tender and just starting to brown at the tips. Cut thin slices of feta cheese. Lay over the top, brush with a little olive oil, and flash under the grill until the cheese starts to bubble. Good on its own with fresh bread and a squeeze of lemon or as an accompaniment to meat or fish. Very handy if you have vegetarians round for dinner as well as carnivores!

Top and tail courgettes and cut lengthwise into long strips about 3 mm thick. Brush with a little olive oil and either cook under the grill, turning once, or cook on a BBQ griddle. Sprinkle with lemon juice and a pinch of oregano or thyme and serve as a side dish to grilled meat.

Fasolakia Me Patates Jiachie (Green Beans With Potatoes And Tomato Sauce)

Image Source: Meghan Schiereck

This recipe for Greek green beans doesn’t sound like anything special until you try it.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and add the onions. Cook gently until soft. Add the beans and cook for 5 minutes. Finally add the potatoes, tomato, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, and 2 cups of water. Simmer over medium heat until the beans are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature with feta cheese, bread, and a squeeze of lemon to taste.

Variation: 

A little finely chopped soup-celery can be added instead of the parsley.

Fondant Au Chocolat

This is our favorite chocolate cake Greek Recipe and we are sharing it with you, in memory of a dear friend who created many delicious meals for countless people over the years and who is sadly no more.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade. Butter and flour a 23 cm round tin. Line the bottom with buttered baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stir in the rum or cognac and remove from the heat. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. A mixer is useful for this if you don’t have a strong wrist. Add the eggs and the flour, two eggs, and a heaped tablespoonful of flour at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the melted chocolate. Pour the batter into the cake tin and stand it on a grid in a larger tin or roasting dish half-filled with water. Bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Serve hot or allow to cool before turning out.

This stays very moist and sticky. It is incredibly rich. A dollop of really good vanilla ice cream or whipped cream just carries it over the edge into total self-indulgence.

Crustless Honey Cheesecake

Image Source: Vania Asc

This is one of those ones where the sum is greater than the parts – and you can add other nice things too. Don’t chicken out of adding the mint in this Greek recipe – this is often used in conjunction with mizithra cheese in this part of the world. It is not as sweet as conventional cheesecakes. Use the most fragrant honey you can find. It started off with a Greek Recipe we found in Myrsini Lambraki’s Honey: Wild Flowers and Healing Plants of Greece.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Crumble the cheese roughly into a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs together lightly in a small bowl, just enough to break the yolks. Add to the cheese along with the mint and the milk. Beat together thoroughly until smooth. Don’t use a blender for this as it may liquefy and then the Greek Recipe won’t work.

Butter a pretty oven-proof dessert dish. Pour in the mixture and smooth the top. Bake for half an hour or until set and a golden crust has formed. Serve warm or chilled.

Variations:

Replace mint with cinnamon or grated lemon zest.

Decorate the top with thin slices of fresh peach or nectarine before baking. Drizzle a little extra honey over the top before serving.

If you think cheesecake isn’t cheesecake without a crust, use your favorite pastry to line the dish.

Trahana Soup With Tomato

Image Source: Nathan Dumlao

This is by request and is from ‘Healthy Greek Food’ by Alekos Valavanis, a book we have often referred to in these pages over the years. All the soup Greek Recipes we have found so far for using trahanas seem to be more like a savory porridge rather than soup in the conventional sense. The garlic and cheese of some sort seem to be standard ingredients common to all. In some books, it is also referred to as frumenty. The Greek Recipe below is suitable for vegetarians.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Heat 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan and saute the trahana with the garlic for 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously. Gradually add the boiling water and salt, and boil for 5 minutes. Then add the tomato paste, stir well, and continue to boil for about 15 minutes until the soup is thick. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small frying pan and fry the feta cheese cubes sprinkled with the paprika. Stir the feta into the soup and serve.

Revithokeftedes – Chickpea Balls

Image Source: Pinterest

These are not to be confused with falafel, for which we’ll give you a Greek recipe for another day. Like many Greek Greek Recipes, there are numerous regional variations and every housewife has her family Greek Recipe. The following is a good starting point. Some cooks boil the chickpeas first but this can result in a gluey texture.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Peel the chickpeas by rubbing them between two clean cloths. This is important as it affects the texture and the digestibility of the end product. Put them in a food processor and chop them coarsely. Add remaining ingredients and whizz to form a batter, adding as much flour as is necessary to give a dropping consistency batter.

Fry spoonfuls in hot oil, drain, and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Variations. Replace the dill with finely chopped chili. A grated tomato can also be added. The hard cheese can be replaced with white fresh cheese such as mizithra for a milder flavor.

Monkfish With Leeks

Image Source: DrOZ

This is from Alekos Valavanis’ book, ‘Healthy Greek Food’, a volume we have found very useful over the years – practically every Greek recipe in that volume is a favorite. The olive oil and lemon dressing is a classic finish to many dishes – the Greek answer to ‘serve with a knob of butter!

Ingredients

Directions:

Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan and saute the leeks and onions until soft. Add the fresh herbs, tomato, hot water, and a pinch of salt. Simmer steadily for about half an hour, until the liquid evaporates and the oil remains.

Steam the monkfish fillets in a steamer for 8 minutes.

Whisk the lemon juice and remaining olive oil together with the black pepper and salt to taste. Serve the fish with the leek sauce and pour the lemon oil dressing overall.

Easy Greek Fish Soup Recipe

In theory, you should cook the fish and the vegetables all together in one big pot – and then watch out for fish bones and other hazards at the dinner table. This requires two pots instead of one but is less likely to wind up in the emergency room of the local hospital, and is just as tasty. Those who want something to fiddle with can always add a few mussels at the end.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Put the prepared fish into a saucepan with the onion, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Add enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes, cover the pan and remove from the heat. In a separate heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the spring onions and carrots for 5 minutes. Add a liter of water, the potatoes, and the passata. Simmer until the vegetables are just tender. Meanwhile, put a colander over a basin and drain the fish, retaining the liquid. Clean the saucepan and strain the fish stock back into it. Remove all the meat from the fish, discarding bones and other debris. Put the fish flesh on a plate and set it aside. You can either add the vegetable mixture directly to the fish stock or you can whizz some or all of it in a blender depending on what kind of texture you would like. At serving time, reheat, adding the fish, parsley, lemon juice, and seasoning to taste. Be careful not to overcook – fish that has been boiled to death turns into flannel.

Serve with lots of fresh bread.

Do It Yourself Greek Yogurt Recipe

Image Source: S O C I A L . C U T

This is for those of you who are unable to buy Greek yogurt locally and want to have a go at making your own. It is quite easy and requires little equipment. This is the Greek Recipe we used when we were sailing and if it works in the primitive conditions we had in our galley, there is no reason why it shouldn’t work in a modern kitchen! Save a spoonful from this batch to use as a starter for the next.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Set aside 30 ml of the fresh milk and stir the milk powder into the remaining milk. Heat very gently, stirring occasionally to make sure the milk powder is properly dissolved, and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove any skin from the top of the milk and pour into a dish to cool. When the milk reaches 45 Centigrade, stir the yogurt into the reserved milk and mix lightly into the warm milk, stirring just once or twice to blend. 

Cover the dish with a lid, wrap it in a blanket or towels and leave in a warm place for about 8 hours to thicken. Chill for about four hours before using. We used to use a wide-mouthed flask or one of those Tupperware rice cookers with warm water in the bottom for the setting period. 

Variation:

Dieters can replace the full cream milk etc with the skim milk low-fat equivalents but that does rather defeat the object of the exercise as the result is as thin and depressing as the shop-bought diet yogurts!

Aubergines And Feta Gratin

How to make three ingredients taste like summer! This is from June Marinos’ wonderful little book, Aubergines from Ancient Times to Today which we reviewed during the summer. We saw a variation on this Greek Recipe on Greek television recently where the feta cheese was sliced rather than crumbled.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Heat about 2 1/2 cm olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the aubergines in batches. Then drain well on absorbent paper.

Stew the tomatoes, seasoned with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste, until thick. In an ovenproof dish, place a layer of aubergines and then a layer of tomato sauce and chopped parsley. Then sprinkle with feta cheese.

Repeat the process ending with the feta cheese.

Bake in a preheated moderate oven 190C for about 25 minutes.

Meat Pie (Greek Recipe)

Image Source: Slashio Photography

We found this in Andrea Mathie’s book, Taste of Greece (Fytraki publications), and adapted it to what was to hand in the kitchen and garden. The original include courgettes in the filling but we did not have any and replaced them with mushrooms. The pastry dough is easy as there is no rubbing in and it makes a change from the usual Greek Recipes for a steak pie. Greek Recipes for pies often make use of cheese in the filling as a means of binding the ingredients together.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

For the filling:

Directions:

Knead together flour, water, olive oil, salt, and the egg to form a smooth elastic dough. If too stiff add a little more olive oil. If too sticky add a little more flour. Cover and set aside while you make the filling.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and lightly brown the meat. Add the onions, carrots, and leeks and braise until the meat is tender. Remove from the heat and add the other vegetables and the cheese. Mix well to combine and season with the oregano and the pepper. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Roll the pastry out to form a thin oblong and place it on a baking sheet. Spread the filling in an even mound on the pastry and pull the edges up towards the middle to form a parcel. Brush with some olive oil, sprinkle with a little water, and bake for about 10 minutes. Then turn the oven down and continue baking at 180 degrees for about 45 minutes, brushing 2-3 more times with olive.

Serve with dollops of Greek yogurt.

Pastitsio Me Prassa

Image Source: Wikipedia

The first leeks are in the shops along with the last of the tomatoes. Here is a dish that makes good use of both of them for a vegetarian main course. The quantity of butter is high for a Greek dish so this is not one for cholesterol watchers. You may replace it with olive oil but the flavor of butter has a certain affinity with leeks that olive oil does not have. A little grated hard cheese such as kefalograviera is good on the top, added towards the end of the cooking time.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Cook the pasta in boiling water until half cooked, tip into a colander, and drain thoroughly. Toss with half the butter and put half in a layer in a buttered oven-proof dish. Blanch the leeks in lightly salted water until just tender, drain, and then sautee briefly in a frying pan in the remaining butter. Spread the leeks over the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Top with a layer of tomato and pepper slices. Season again with salt and pepper. 

Cover with the remaining pasta and follow with the rest of the tomato and pepper slices. Cover with foil and bake in a hot oven for about half an hour, until the tomatoes are soft and the pasta is almost cooked through. It should absorb quite a lot of the moisture from the vegetables. Pour over the beaten eggs evenly, shaking the pan lightly to distribute through the dish. Put back into the oven for about 10 minutes, uncovered, to set the eggs and brown the top.

Fusilli With Tuna, Capers, Courgettes And Olives

In the summer those of us who live and work here don’t have much time for cooking – and while eating out is good and varied, the thought of going out again after a working day that often starts at 6 am and finishes at 9 pm can be exhausting just to think about – the following is one of our favorite one-dish Greek Recipes that can be put together in the time it takes to shower and open a bottle of wine.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Put a large pan of salted water on to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. As soon as you have drained the pasta, toss with the grated zucchini – the heat from the pasta will cook it sufficiently. Meanwhile, drain the olive oil from the tuna into a small pan and cook the onion until soft. Add the capers, olives and tuna flaked into rough chunks and heat through. Stir into the cooked pasta and courgette mixture and season to taste.

Kotopoulo Psito Lemonata

Image Source: JK Sloan

As it is getting cooler in the evenings thoughts are turning to more substantial food. This is our version of the classic lemon roast chicken. As roasting a whole chicken means having the oven on for longer than we really want at this time of the year, we use chicken portions or cut the chicken along its backbone and flatten it. That way it cooks quicker and doesn’t make the house hot.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade. Wash and dry the chicken pieces. Grate the zest from one of the lemons into a big bowl large enough to hold the chicken. Squeeze the juice for both lemons into the bowl and combine with the olive oil, herbs, and seasonings. Add the chicken and turn several times to make sure it is well coated. Arrange the chicken in a roasting pan. Add the potatoes to the remaining marinade in the bowl and stir them around gently to coat. Put them into the roasting pan around the chicken. Pour two cups of warm water into the bowl with the remains of the marinade, swirl around so that you don’t leave any bits behind, and pour over the chicken in the pan. Put the roasting pan in the oven. Reduce heat to 180 degrees after ten minutes and roast for about 35 minutes, basting frequently and topping up the liquid if necessary. If the chicken pieces are done before the potatoes, remove them to a warm dish while the potatoes finish cooking.

Variations:

Lemon enthusiasts might like to slice one of the lemons and lay the pieces in the pan with the chicken and potatoes.

If you leave the cloves of garlic whole instead of crushing them the flavor is milder.

The water can be replaced by good chicken stock.

Dried Broad Bean Dip

Image Source: Jennie Brown

This is for hummus addicts who have trouble getting hold of tahini or who are trying to cut back a little on the calories. Although the black fly got to our broad beans before we did this year, last year we had an enormous crop. We dried baskets full and the mice didn’t find all of them so we have been experimenting. This one seemed to go down well on the home front. The result is a fairly silky dip. The broad beans have a slightly nutty taste, similar to tahini in hummus. Instead of using a blender or food processor, you can push it through a food mill which gives a chunkier texture.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Put the soaked broad beans in a pan with water to cover. Bring them to a boil, remove them from the heat and allow them to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel them and discard the skins. A small paring knife is helpful for this and if you do it at a table under the vine with a glass of something interesting and suitable for company, it is not as tedious as it sounds… Put the peeled beans back in a pan with fresh water to cover. Add the whole peeled cloves of garlic, the spring onion chunks, and the whole chili if using. Bring to the boil and then simmer, covered, until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Cool in the liquid. Put in a blender with sufficient cooking liquid to make a thick dipping consistency and season to taste. Finally, blend in the olive oil. Serve at room temperature with hot toast or farmhouse-type bread.

PS: Wash up everything thoroughly before it dries as otherwise, it will set hard.

Deep-Fried Calamari

Image Source: Esperanza Doronila

When it’s Lent in Greece, many people in the islands give up meat, preferring to eat seafood such as calamari. Here is a simple Greek Recipe for those of you who have enjoyed it in tavernas while on holiday and have never tried cooking it at home. It is very easy. Just make sure you don’t overcook it! That includes keeping it warm after cooking. Wait until everyone is sitting at the table and then ‘cook to order’.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Sift together flour, salt, and pepper. Put the calamari into a big bowl and toss with the seasoned flour to coat lightly and evenly. Heat the oil and fry the calamari in batches for about 3 minutes or until crisp, golden, and just cooked through. Overcooking makes calamari tough! Drain thoroughly on paper towels and serve immediately garnished with lemon wedges.

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