On Crete there is a very special cooking method used for lamb or goat meat. This cooking method is called antikristo which literally means “across the fire”.
In the fields this cooking method is made across large fires with huge grids where the meat ist hanged after salting (only salt is needed) and cooked with the indirect heat of the flames.
The big advantage of this cooking method ist that the meat does not need constant attention and shepherds could continue with their works.
In our case with tried to use a Spanish tool intended for roasting bread. We tool was big enough for one shoulder of lamb! The result was excellent and we could smell and taste Crete even thousands of kilometers away from our beloved island.
Ossobuco is one of the most appreciated dishes of Milanese cuisine. Veal shanks are cut crosswise to reveal the bone (osso) with its hole (buco) where you will find the delicious marrow. This inexpensive cut of meat is finished with a gremolata, which is a mix of chopped parsley and lemon zest. This combination turns this dish into a very delicious meal. In Italy, the ossobuco is served typically with saffron risotto.
2 veal shanks of about 350-400 g each (you may also use beef shanks)
2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 small golden onions, sliced
100 ml white wine
1 small rosemary spring
2 cups chicken or beef broth, more if necessary
For the gremolata
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
1 big or 2 small garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Lemon zest of half lemon
Slit the skin around the veal shanks in 2 or 3 places so that slices do not curl when cooked.
Dust the meat with flour.
Heat the butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, fry gently, and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain the onions and set them aside.
Add veal shanks; cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Add the reversed onions. Pour in white wine and simmer until reduced, about 5 minutes.
Add the rosemary and pour in 1 cup the stock. Simmer and add gradually the second cup of broth, stirring between gently. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, turning the shanks occasionally, until tender, about 55 minutes. If necessary, add more stock or water. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper, as you like. If you used beef, you will have to cook it longer until you see the meat is soft enough. When the meat is almost done place the meat aside on a plate and sieve (press the sauce well through) the sauce; return the meat to the skillet as well as the drained sauce; all some water only if it is really nessary.
If you do not like raw garlic, fry it gently in a small skillet.
Sprinkle garlic, parsley and lemon zest over the meat, some should be added to the sauce. Cover and cook until flavors combine, about 5 minutes.
Note: during the cooking time, take you time for the risotto.
This is my variation of the “dancing chicken” recipe on a beer tin. As we have wine in our house and plenty of fresh rosemary in the garden, we decided to change the recipe and prepare it with Mediterranean ingredients.
This fantastic cooking method allows the skin of the chicken to roast without being soaked by the liquid; at the same time, the wine in the can inserted into the belly of the chicken will keep the meat moist, tender and very aromatic.
Easter lamb is a traditional recipe, which we always love very much! This year I would like to present you a variation of stuffed lamb, this one is slow roasted and filled with the traditional feta with the addition of dried tomatoes and CARDMOM! Thanks the special addition of this secret ingredient and the recipe becomes a wonderful taste and thanks the excellent sauce it is elevated to a gift from the gods and a real perfect Easter recipe.
According the cooking direction of this recipe, you will get a melt in the mouth well done stuffed lamb. Well done lamb it’s way we always pieces of lamb on Crete and I really appreciate this cooking way. If you prefer medium-rare lamb, you may simply roast at higher temperature (220°C) for the first 30 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 180°C; it’s done when the instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 60 C.
1500 g small potatoes, peeled (if they are big simply quartered)
2-4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed (to taste)
1 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
15 dried tomatoes
1/2 cup boiling water
1 pinch cardamom
200 g feta, crumbled
1/2 lemon zest
Salt and pepper, if needed
Filling: In a small bowl, cover dried tomatoes with 1/4 cup boiling water; let soak for 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve the water. Add all the other ingredients and adjust with salt and pepper. I did not need salt as the feta and dried tomatoes where dry enough.
On your working surface, place the twines at a distance of about 3 cm between each (in the direction of the long side of the meat, see picture).
Aver the twine adjust the wine leaves in the same size as the meat.
Wash and pat dry the meat and trim any excess fat. If some parts are much thicker than others are, butterfly them to make it evenly thick. Lightly pound the lamb with a meat mallet, if necessary, to further even it out and make it roughly rectangular in shape
Lay the mean skin side down over the leaves and spread the filling over the lamb. Starting at one short end, roll the lamb up tightly together with the leaves. For this step, it is easier if you get the help of a second person! Tie the roll. Brush with olive oil.
Cover the lamb well with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours. Let the lamb sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 170°C. For this recipe is better not to use the air forced function!
Sauté the onions in a non-sticky skillet with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and when lightly browned and set aside. Add one more tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and toss the potatoes in it.
Place the lamb in the mold arrange onions around the lamb, add the cardamom pods (one on each side) and arrange the potatoes around the meat (if possible in one layer).
Add the reserved liquid of the dried tomatoes and half of the wine.
Add some salt, pepper to taste, and drizzle 2 tablespoon of oil over all of them.
Cover with the lid and bake for 2 hours at 180°C. If your baking dish does not have a lid cover with parchment paper then with aluminum foil; in this case take care that you add more liquid or you check from time to time that the meat will not dry out (this depends also form the kind of oven!)
After two hours remove the lid, add the remaining wine, check if you need to add more salt and increase the temperature to 210°C, bake for 30 minutes. From time to time, check that you still have enough liquid (I recommend to have a level of at least 1.5 cm liquid on the bottom of your mold).
Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 20 minutes before removing the twine and slicing.
A tagine is such a wonderful way to prepare and serve a complete meal at once.
The combination of meat, vegetable and carbs makes this possible and super easy!
The special spice mix, which I call “Moroccan Spice Mix”, is a wonderful very versatile balanced combination of flavours; I use this in many different ways, mostly spontaneously according to the ingredients I have on hand at home.
In the recipe below, I added some honey from our own production; this made the plate really really delicious!
2 teaspoon ras el hanout spice mix, if available, optional
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons olive oil
500 g chicken skinned, cut into big pieces (if you prefer deboned)
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters (wedges)
1/2 lemon with peel, cut vertically in wedges (skin on)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and chopped
6 teaspoons Moroccan Spices Mix (see above)
1 teaspoon paprika
4 Roma tomatoes
1 cup chicken or vegetal broth
1 can chickpeas, about 2 cups cooked chickpeas
½ lemon juice
2 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoon raisins (+ some for decoration)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley for decoration
Prepare in advance the ingredients taking care to prepare the tomatoes. To peel the tomatoes dip them in boiling water for two minutes, place in cold water and remove the skin. Cut into half and with your fingers remove the seed, cut into 1-2 cm pieces.
Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet (provided of lid) and fry chicken for 2 minutes, add onion and lemon wedges and fry for other 3 minutes.
Add garlic, ginger and spices. Stir fry shortly until fragrant.
Add tomatoes and sauté for 1-2 more minutes. Set aside a few pieces tomatoes, one lemon and one onion wedge for decoration.
Add the broth and stir well-
Add chickpeas, lemon juice, honey and raisins.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and let simmer covered for about 30 minutes or better one until the chicken results tender. Stir and add little water from time to time as it should not result dry.
Just before serving top with the reserved lemon and onion wedges, the pieces of tomatoes, a few raisins. Cover for a few seconds.
Lentils with tomatoes sauce and smoked speck or “zampone” (Pork sausage foot) are a very traditional North Italian dish. Try this Moroccan recipe very similar to the Italian one but enriched with a lot of spices and a delicious yogurt sauce.
The quantity of spices can be adapted to your taste; I know, I tend to use a lot of them!
This serves 4-6 persons, but if you have leftovers, you will see that the lentils are even better the day after.
The cooking time depends on the lentils, mines needed about 40 minutes.
In a wide pot (about 4 liters size) roast the merguez with the oil on oil sides until lightly browned. Pinch them while cooking to that they will release the fat and liquid. If you like add little water to help releasing the fat. Continue to cook until water is evaporated. At this point you will see the released fat which will be needed to fry the vegetables. If you want you may reduce the fat by discarding part of the fat.
Set merguez aside in a warm place (wrapped with foil) and fry the vegetables in the oil until onion are translucent.
Add spices and fry for a few more minutes.
Add lentils, canned tomatoes and the first “can” of water, season with salt and pepper. Let simmer until water is almost adsorbed. Add gradually more water until lentil are soft but not mush. Season again and stir in the fresh coriander.
While the lentils are cooking prepare the yogurt sauce combining the ingredients best do this just after adding the lentils to the pot so that the yogurt sauce will have time to rest and develop the flavors.
The merguez may be cooked with the lentils, or reheated by placing them over the ready lentils before serving.
This is another of our evergreens which has not been posted since now. The first title I gave to this recipe was “Tagine En Vitesse De Poulet, Olives Et Citrons Confits” as this is quick version of the this famous Moroccan recipe.
I’ve always the preserved lemons on hand a batch of Maroccan Mix spices, so that this works very quickly for me and in 30 minutes I can serve this delish. If you have time I suggest to cook this for about 1 hours and the chicken will be much softer and the spice will be better combined.
This is not the original recipe, but the taste was great, it’s very light and it remembers us the fabulous meal we had in a beautiful restaurant in Fes (Morocco).