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George's Top 5 Greek Recipes

1. Moussaka

Moussaka is a popular dish in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. It is a layered casserole made with various ingredients, typically including eggplant, ground meat (such as beef or lamb), potatoes, and a rich tomato sauce. The dish is topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and often sprinkled with cheese before being baked until golden and bubbly.

The traditional method of preparing moussaka involves slicing the eggplant and potatoes and frying them until golden brown. Meanwhile, the ground meat is cooked with onions, garlic, and spices, and then mixed with tomato sauce or puree. The fried eggplant and potatoes are layered with the meat mixture in a baking dish, and the dish is topped with a béchamel sauce made from flour, butter, milk, and eggs. After baking in the oven, the moussaka is typically allowed to rest for a while before serving, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Moussaka is a hearty and flavorful dish, often served as a main course. It is commonly accompanied by a fresh salad and crusty bread. The specific ingredients and seasonings used can vary depending on regional and personal preferences, but the dish generally features layers of vegetables, meat, and sauce, creating a delicious and satisfying meal.

Certainly! I’d be happy to provide you with a recipe for moussaka. Here’s a classic version of the dish:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb (450g) ground lamb or beef
  • 1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

  2. Slice the eggplants into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for about 30 minutes to remove excess moisture. Rinse the eggplant slices and pat them dry with a paper towel.

  3. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until they become translucent and fragrant.

  4. Add the ground lamb or beef to the skillet and cook until browned. Break up any large chunks with a wooden spoon.

  5. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, dried oregano, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper. If desired, add the red wine for extra flavor. Simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

  6. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until it forms a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the milk, ensuring there are no lumps. Cook the béchamel sauce, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

  7. Grease a baking dish with olive oil. Arrange a single layer of eggplant slices on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a little grated Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers until you run out of eggplant, ending with a layer of eggplant on top.

  8. Pour the meat sauce over the top layer of eggplant, spreading it evenly.

  9. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and pour them over the meat sauce.

  10. Finally, pour the béchamel sauce over the top, smoothing it out with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top.

  11. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and bubbling.

  12. Once cooked, remove the moussaka from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes before serving. This will help it set and make it easier to slice.

Moussaka is often served with a side salad or bread. Enjoy your homemade moussaka!

 

2. Gyros

Gyros, also known as gyro sandwiches or gyros wraps, are a popular Greek dish that has gained popularity worldwide. The term “gyro” is derived from the Greek word for “turn” or “rotate,” which refers to the method of cooking the meat.

Traditionally, gyros are made by stacking thin slices of marinated meat, typically lamb, chicken, or beef, on a vertical rotisserie. The meat rotates slowly, allowing it to cook evenly and develop a delicious, juicy flavor. As the outer layer of the meat cooks, it is sliced off in thin strips.

Gyros are typically served in a pita bread or flatbread, along with various toppings and sauces. Common toppings include sliced tomatoes, onions, and sometimes lettuce. Tzatziki, a creamy sauce made with yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and herbs, is a popular condiment that is often drizzled over the meat.

In addition to the classic meat-based gyros, there are also vegetarian or vegan options available. These versions often feature grilled vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini, or mushrooms, as a substitute for the meat.

Gyros are a convenient and tasty street food, and they have become popular in many parts of the world. They are enjoyed for their flavorful combination of tender meat, fresh vegetables, and zesty sauces.

Ingredients:

For the gyros meat:

  • 1.5 lbs (700g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs or pork shoulder
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon

For the tzatziki sauce:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, grated and squeezed to remove excess moisture
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For serving:

  • Pita bread
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Sliced red onions
  • Crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Instructions:

  1. If using chicken thighs, trim any excess fat and slice them into thin strips. If using pork shoulder, slice it into thin strips as well.

  2. In a bowl, combine the minced garlic, dried oregano, ground cumin, ground paprika, salt, black pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Mix well.

  3. Add the sliced meat to the marinade and toss until all the meat is well coated. Cover the bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to develop.

  4. While the meat is marinating, prepare the tzatziki sauce. In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, grated cucumber, minced garlic, chopped dill, chopped mint (if using), lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  5. Preheat your grill or skillet over medium-high heat. If using a grill, thread the marinated meat onto skewers. If using a skillet, you can cook the meat directly in the pan.

  6. Cook the gyros meat for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through and nicely browned. Ensure the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) or the pork to 145°F (63°C).

  7. Once cooked, remove the meat from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes. Slice the cooked meat into thin strips.

  8. Warm the pita bread either on the grill or in a pan for a few seconds on each side.

  9. Assemble your gyros by spreading a generous amount of tzatziki sauce on the pita bread. Top with sliced gyros meat, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, sliced red onions, and crumbled feta cheese (if desired).

  10. Roll up the pita bread tightly and enjoy your homemade gyros!

You can serve gyros with a side of Greek salad or fries for a complete meal. Enjoy!

3. Tzatziki

Tzatziki is a popular Greek sauce or dip made from strained yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, olive oil, and various herbs and spices. It is commonly served as a condiment with Greek cuisine and is particularly associated with dishes like souvlaki (grilled meat skewers) and gyros (roasted meat wrapped in pita bread).

To make tzatziki, you typically start by straining Greek yogurt to remove excess liquid. This can be done by placing the yogurt in a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve and letting it drain for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. This step helps to achieve a thick and creamy consistency.

Meanwhile, the cucumbers are peeled, seeded, and grated or finely chopped. The grated cucumbers are often salted and allowed to sit for a short time to release their moisture. Afterward, they are usually squeezed or pressed to remove any excess liquid.

Once the yogurt and cucumbers are ready, they are combined in a bowl. Finely minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper are added to the mixture. Dill is a traditional herb used in tzatziki, but other herbs like mint or parsley can also be added according to personal preference.

The ingredients are thoroughly mixed together, and the tzatziki sauce is then refrigerated for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld together. It is served chilled and can be garnished with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of herbs, or a cucumber slice.

Tzatziki is known for its refreshing and tangy flavor, thanks to the combination of yogurt, cucumbers, and garlic. It adds a cooling element to savory dishes and is often used as a dip for pita bread or vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried dill)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Start by preparing the cucumber. Peel the cucumber and grate it using a box grater. Place the grated cucumber in a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth and squeeze out the excess moisture.

  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and chopped dill. Stir well to combine.

  3. Add the grated cucumber to the yogurt mixture and mix thoroughly.

  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the amount of garlic, lemon juice, or dill according to your preference.

  5. Cover the tzatziki and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.

  6. Before serving, give the tzatziki a good stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

  7. Serve tzatziki as a dip with pita bread, fresh vegetables, or as a sauce for gyros, souvlaki, or grilled meats.

Enjoy your homemade tzatziki!

4. Loukoumades

Loukamades, also known as loukoumades, are a traditional Greek dessert. They are essentially deep-fried dough balls that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. After frying, they are typically soaked in a flavored syrup and sprinkled with various toppings.

To make loukamades, a simple batter is prepared using ingredients such as flour, water, yeast, sugar, and a pinch of salt. The batter is allowed to rise for some time to activate the yeast and create a light and airy texture. Once the batter has risen, small portions of it are dropped into hot oil and fried until golden brown.

After frying, the loukamades are drained and then traditionally soaked in a honey syrup flavored with lemon juice and cinnamon. The syrup is absorbed by the dough balls, making them moist and adding a sweet and aromatic taste. Other variations of syrup, such as chocolate or fruit syrups, can also be used.

Loukamades are often served hot and fresh, sprinkled with additional toppings like chopped nuts (such as walnuts or pistachios), cinnamon, powdered sugar, or even a drizzle of melted chocolate. They are typically enjoyed as a sweet treat or dessert and are popular at festivals, fairs, and family gatherings in Greece and other Mediterranean countries.

Loukamades have a long history and are believed to date back to ancient Greece. They have remained a beloved treat throughout the centuries, cherished for their delightful combination of textures and flavors.

Absolutely! Here’s a recipe for delicious Loukoumades, which are Greek honey puffs:

Ingredients: For the dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)

For the syrup:

  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup water
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Optional toppings: crushed walnuts, cinnamon, powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, instant yeast, salt, and sugar.

  2. Gradually add the lukewarm water to the dry ingredients while stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula. Mix until a smooth, sticky batter-like consistency is achieved. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.

  3. While the dough is rising, prepare the syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the honey, water, and lemon juice. Heat over medium heat until the mixture comes to a gentle simmer. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and set aside.

  4. Once the dough has risen, it is ready to be fried. Fill a deep pot or a deep fryer with vegetable oil, ensuring there is enough oil for the Loukoumades to float and fry freely. Heat the oil to about 350°F (175°C).

  5. Using two spoons or a small ice cream scoop, scoop up a small portion of dough (about the size of a walnut) and carefully drop it into the hot oil. Repeat this process, frying several Loukoumades at a time, but avoid overcrowding the pot.

  6. Fry the Loukoumades until they become golden brown and puffed up, turning them occasionally with a slotted spoon for even cooking. This should take about 2-3 minutes per batch.

  7. Once cooked, remove the Loukoumades from the oil using a slotted spoon and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.

  8. Allow the Loukoumades to cool slightly for a minute or two, then transfer them to a serving platter or dish.

  9. Drizzle the warm syrup generously over the Loukoumades, making sure they are well coated. You can also sprinkle them with crushed walnuts, a dusting of cinnamon, or powdered sugar for added flavor and presentation.

  10. Serve the Loukoumades while they are still warm and enjoy this delightful Greek dessert!

Loukoumades are best eaten fresh, as they tend to become softer over time. So, enjoy them right away!

5. Chargrilled Octopus

Greek-style chargrilled octopus is a delicious and popular dish that highlights the flavors of the Mediterranean. Here’s a recipe to help you prepare it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large octopus (approximately 2-3 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Start by cleaning the octopus. Rinse it thoroughly under cold running water and remove the beak located in the center of the tentacles. You can also ask your fishmonger to clean it for you.
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the octopus for about 5 minutes. This helps to tenderize the meat.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  4. While the grill is heating, prepare the marinade. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  5. Once the octopus has been blanched, remove it from the pot and pat it dry with paper towels.
  6. Using a brush, generously coat the octopus with the marinade on all sides.
  7. Place the octopus on the grill and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side, until it develops grill marks and is slightly charred.
  8. While grilling, continue basting the octopus with the remaining marinade to keep it moist and flavorful.
  9. Once the octopus is cooked, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes.
  10. Slice the octopus into bite-sized pieces and transfer them to a serving platter.
  11. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, if desired.
  12. Serve the chargrilled octopus Greek-style with lemon wedges on the side. It’s delicious as an appetizer or as part of a seafood feast.

Enjoy your Greek-style chargrilled octopus!

5. Vegetable and meat Souvlakia

6.Greek Salad

7. Youvarlakia