If you’re looking to add more greens to your plates, this is a great start. Beet leaves are delicious, sweeter than spinach which will score points with the kids and so pretty. Combined with ever popular chicken and cream that makes everything taste better, its…
It’s funny how borlotti or cranberry beans also have two names in Greek: chandres (beads) or barbounia (red mullet, yes really). They are so beautiful that I almost feel sad when I see them lose their color cooked. Their slightly sweet and hearty tasty, quickly compensates us. We also like buying them fresh from the farmers’ market and podding them together with the kids.
In this traditional recipe they are combined with grassfed beef and slow baked in a clay pot. Lamb also suits them. When making casseroles, I prefer to saute the meat and vegetables first before braising, as it makes for a tastier and more presentable dish. Which is why I usually prefer the cast-iron pots that let you start cooking on the hob finishing off in the oven. The clay pot though is much more forgiving, as it seems to magically impart flavor to everything inside it, even when its just thrown in and allowed to gently cook with no supervision.
I love this dish for two reasons. Firstly, it’s really great for very busy days. Days when you have only have 10 ‘-15’ prep time and still want to have something delicious and comforting for dinner.
The second and equally important reason is that you can, in this particular recipe, prepare it with the children and let them feel the pride of preparing a whole meal from scratch. As you understand, you should allow for a little more prep time in this case. Kids can easily pod and wash the beans. They can chop the onions in a food processor. They, can also cut the carrots, too, if they’re not using a knife yet. You only need to peel and chop the sweet potatoes, as their so hard. I added them because their taste reminds me of chestnuts. Borlotti beans go very nicely with chestnuts for a vegetarian dish, but this is a recipe for another day.
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 kg grassfed beef, in portions
- 2-3 tbsps olive oil
- 1 sprig rosemary or sage
- 200 ml wine or tomato juice if you’re serving in children
- 800 gr. podded fresh borlotti beans
- 750 ml homemade broth or water
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: 3 white sweet potatoes, cut into large pieces
Scatter the onions and carrots around the bottom of a clay pot and place the beef on top. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season. Add the rosemary and the wine or juice. Layer the beans on top with enough broth to just cover them. If you are using the sweet potatoes, place them on top with rest of the olive oil. They will cook in the steam of the sauce.
Cover and place the pot in a cold oven setting the temperature to 220C for about 30 minutes so the stew comes to the boil. Lower to 160C for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check with a fork that the meat is cooked through and very soft. The fork should go right through it. If the vegetables have released a lot of juice, let the casserole cook uncovered in the oven to reduce 10 minutes and allow to rest uncovered for another 10 minutes on the kitchen counter.
The best seafood is fresh! Agreed, but come Tuesday afternoon, counting down the minutes, the seconds until dinner time, the best seafood fast and readily available. So fresh shelled mussels in the refrigerator or in the freezer (if you have thawed them) is a delicious, nutritious and inexpensive shortcut when weekday dinners need to be ready in no time. Mussels are particularly rich in iron and vitamin B12, so very useful when fasting for Lent or for young kids where every bite counts.
The frozen mussels are pre-cooked and easy to overcook, so you will need to reduce the cooking times you will see below by half. With a little care they will remain tender. If you read the recipe through so that the steps are clear and you have your ingredients prepared, dinner is ready in 20-25′.
- 2 tbsps. Olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 500 gr. tomatoes, grated
- A few basil leaves or 1 tablespoon Basil pesto
- 4 garlic cloves
- 500 gr. Mussels, rinsed and shelled
- 60 ml white wine or 2 tbsp lemon juice if you are serving children
- 400 gr. Spaghetti
- grated lemon zest and finely chopped parsley for serving
In a saucepan saute the onion in half the oil, until translucent. Add half the garlic and 30″ later the grated tomato. Season and allow to simmer uncovered for about 15 ‘-20 ‘.
In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, add the spaghetti and boil for 2 ‘ less than the label on the packaging. Have the colander ready.
In the meantime, in a large wide frying pan, sauté the remaining oil, the remaining garlic with the mussels for 2 minutes and add the wine. Allow to evaporate while adding the basil to the tomato sauce. Stir the sauce well and pour into the pan with the mussels. Simmer for 2 ‘, then add the strained spaghetti, stir well and take off the heat. Serve immediately with the lemon zest and parsley.
The Talagani is a cheese closely related to the traditional Greek Mastelo, Formaella and mostly with the Cypriot Halloumi. It is produced exclusively from sheep’s and goat’s milk and, like its cousins, has a robust texture that allows you to grill it even straight over…
Fresh wild salmon is almost impossible to find in Greece. As most fish grow thinner in winter, frozen salmon fillets are a quick and reliable source of ω3 fats and are usually perfectly paired with winter broccoli. Purple broccoli is available at farmers’ markets from…
- 4 fresh handmade sausages /500 gr. approx.
- 2 onions, sliced
- 3 peppers in strips
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsps vinegar
- 400 gr. tomato, grated
- 400 gr. penne
Saute the sausages and once they have rendered a little fat, add the onions and peppers. When soft, add the garlic, stir well and add the vinegar. Once it evaporates, add the tomato and let it simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the penne in plenty of salted water, strain and add to the sauce. Simmer for 2 more minutes and serve.
The secret to making this dish delicious is the very good quality of the sausage. I use fresh, traditionally handmade ones, encased in natural intestine, containing only meat and spices. You can find it here.