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Two Recipes to Enjoy from the Cyclades

Two Recipes to Enjoy from the Cyclades

The cuisine of the Cyclades offers something for everyone, with fresh flavors and unique local products that make each island a delightful destination for gastronomic tours. Some traditional favorites to try on your next visit to the Cycladic islands include karpouzopita, watermelon pie, from Milos, and tomatokeftedes, tomato fritters, from Santorini. Perhaps less well-known than those island favorites are the traditional beef dish from Naxos called kalogeros, named after a mountain peak on the island and typically served with fried potatoes, and patatato, a goat meat and potatoes stew from Amorgos traditionally served at celebrations including weddings and religious festivals.

 

Kalogeros from Naxos

For the beef stew:

2 pounds beef, cut into chunks

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh, ripe tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil

Greek sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of sugar

Water

For the eggplant:

6 large eggplant

2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced

Naxos Graviera or gruyere

Greek extra virgin olive oil

Greek sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over high heat and brown the beef on all sides in a tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about an hour and a half.

At this point, the eggplant can be fried or baked. To bake the eggplant, cut each one in half lengthwise and score the flesh of each half diagonally, from left to right and then right to left to create diamond shaped cuts. Add a pinch of salt, brush with olive oil and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. To fry the eggplant, slice into half-inch thick rounds and shallow fry in a bit of olive oil, for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Keep the oven at 350 degrees if you baked the eggplant or preheat the oven to 350 F and continue.

When the stewed beef is ready, place a generous spoonful or two into each baked eggplant half after scooping into the flesh to create a cup for the stew. Fill each half with beef stew and two generous tablespoons of tomato sauce. For the fried eggplant, stack two slices and top with the cooked beef and a generous helping of sauce. Add slices of cheese or grated gruyere on top and place in a baking dish. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if preferred. Bake in the 350 degree F oven for about 5-7 minutes until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.

 

Patatato from Amorgos

Patatato from Amorgos. Photo by Sanket Shah, via Unsplash

2 pounds kid goat shoulder cut into large chunks with the bone in

2-3 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 glass red wine

2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 2-inch stick cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary

6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

Greek sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Water

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large deep pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper generously to taste and sear on all sides in the heated oil. Remove the seared meat from the pot and set aside. Drain any excess oil from the pot and in the same pot, sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant about one minute. Return the meat to the pot and add the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon, allspice, fresh rosemary, and the potatoes. Add enough water to cover the food. Cover and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about two hours, stirring once about halfway through the cooking process. Top with chopped fresh parsley, if using. Serve with fresh bread and feta, if preferred.