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Food

TNH’s Favorite Greek Comfort Foods to Enjoy in the Colder Months

November 23, 2020

Greek comfort foods are like a warm hug from a beloved family member, they not only bring back memories but they connect us in a powerful way to our roots and the relationships that sustain us even in the most difficult times. Enjoy the following Greek comfort food favorites during the colder months and share them with your loved ones. 

Patates me Kreas (Potato and Beef Stew) 

2 pounds beef for stew, cut in cubes 

2 large onion, chopped 

3 carrots, chopped 

3 celery stalks, chopped 

4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil 

5-6 large potatoes, peeled and quartered or cut in cubes, as preferred 

1 large can (28 oz.) San Marzano tomatoes, chopped, or 4-5 fresh, ripe tomatoes, if available 

1 bay leaf  

Water 

Greek sea salt  

Freshly ground pepper 

Brown the cubes of beef on all sides in a pan over medium high heat, add salt and pepper to taste, set aside. In a large, deep pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the browned beef, the chopped carrots, celery, the tomatoes, bay leaf, and water, enough to cover all. Bring up to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and additional boiling water if needed to cover the potatoes. Continue simmering until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart. Serve immediately with crusty bread, feta, and a salad. Lamb may be substituted for the beef in this recipe. 

Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Oregano, and Potatoes 

1 whole organic chicken 

2-3 lemons 

Greek dried oregano 

Greek sea salt 

Freshly ground pepper 

Greek extra virgin olive oil (optional) 

5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and halved, lengthwise 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If your oven has a convection roast feature, use it, but raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F since the convection fan may lower the overall temperature of your oven. 

Peel and halve the potatoes lengthwise and set them in a bowl with cold water to prevent them turning brown while you prepare the chicken. Rinse the chicken with cold water and place breast side up in a roasting pan with space enough for the potatoes. Squeeze the lemons and drizzle over the top of the chicken and into the cavity. Stuff the cavity with one or two of the squeezed out lemon halves. If using, drizzle with some olive oil. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and oregano, to taste. Place the potatoes around the chicken in the pan and season with salt, pepper and oregano, to taste. Roast the chicken and potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the chicken, or until the breast begins to lightly color. Then, using a fork, or two forks if the chicken is large, turn the chicken breast side down, sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano and continue roasting until the skin is golden brown, then turn the chicken again, and roast until the breast side is golden brown and the potatoes are done, another 40 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the chicken and the strength of the oven. If the potatoes seem to be browning too much on one side, turn them as well and continue roasting. You may need to remove the potatoes from the baking pan if they seem to be disintegrating before the chicken is done. Remove the pan from the oven, tent the roasted chicken with foil, and let it rest 15-20 minutes before carving. The resting time keeps the chicken moist. If there are pan drippings left, drizzle them over the cut chicken pieces before serving. Serve the chicken and potatoes with a side salad or the cooked vegetables of your choice. During the roasting process, you may need to add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan in case it dries out. 

Cretan Stewed Mushrooms 

2 pounds mushrooms, chopped, if large 

1 large onion, chopped 

1 pound small stewing onions 

1 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped 

1 cup Greek red wine 

1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil 

1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary 

Greek sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 

Clean the mushrooms, cut off stems, and chop into bite-sized pieces, if they’re very large. Heat about half of the olive oil in a large deep pot or sauté pan, add the mushrooms, and sauté over medium high heat until the mushrooms have cooked down a bit. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Add the tomatoes, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the sauce is reduced. In a separate pan, sauté the small onions with a dash of salt and pepper, add the wine, and simmer for a few minutes to reduce, then add to the simmering mushrooms. Stir and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed. Serve with fresh bread or over pasta, rice, or bulgur. 

Rabbit Stifado 

1 large rabbit, cut in pieces 

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar 

2 bay leaves 

4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil 

1 large onion, diced 

6 ounces Greek tomato paste 

1 cup chopped plum tomatoes, fresh or canned 

Water 

1 cup dry Greek red wine 

1 sprig fresh rosemary 

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt 

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 2-inch cinnamon stick 

2 pounds white pearl onions, peeled 

Rinse the rabbit in cool water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place in a nonreactive bowl with the red wine vinegar and the bay leaves. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight to marinate. Remove the marinaded rabbit pieces from the vinegar and pat dry, reserving the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large deep pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Cook the rabbit pieces in the hot olive oil until browned on all sides. If needed, brown the rabbit in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Remove the browned meat to a plate and set aside. Add the diced onion to the pot and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the tomato paste and the chopped tomatoes and sauté for about 2 minutes. Return the browned meat to the pot and add enough water to cover. Add the reserved bay leaves, the wine, rosemary, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Bring the pot up to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 30 minutes. In a separate pan, cook the pearl onions for about 10 minutes and then add to the pot and continue simmering until the onions are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, rosemary sprig, and cinnamon stick, if using, before serving. 

Stewed Chicken in Wine with Pasta

1 whole chicken

4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned

Water

1 cup dry white wine

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon Greek sea salt, plus additional to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon or a 2-inch cinnamon stick

10 black olives, optional

1 pound long pasta, such as spaghetti

Grated cheese, such as mizithra

Rinse the chicken in cool water and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the chicken up into pieces for serving to ensure even cooking. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large deep pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Cook the chicken pieces, skin side down in the hot olive oil until golden brown on all sides. If needed, brown the chicken in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Remove the browned chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the diced onion to the pot and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté just until fragrant. Then, add the tomato paste and the chopped tomatoes and sauté for about 2 minutes. Return the browned chicken pieces to the pot and add enough water to cover. Add the wine, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Bring the pot up to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 30 minutes. If using cinnamon stick, remove before serving. Meanwhile, bring a large deep pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and serve with the chicken and sauce, garnish with black olives, if using, and top with grated cheese.

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