Shrimp saganaki (Γαρίδες σαγανάκι)

Shrimp saganaki

Shrimp cooked in a rich and spicy tomato sauce with ouzo and feta

Shrimp saganaki

 

In Greek cooking there are a whole slew of dishes which are categorized as saganaki.  One of the most popular is cheese saganaki, that meze of fried cheese set aflame with the help of a little ouzo or Metaxa, which causes restaurant patrons to exclaim Opa! in delighted unison.  The term saganaki actually refers to the small, two-handled frying pan in which the food is cooked called a sagani, a derivative of the Turkish word sahan, which means copper dish.  Remember long ago when we told you that Mia Kouppa would also make you smarter?  You’re welcome.

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Oven-baked chicken and rice (Κοτόπουλο με ρύζι στο φούρνο)

Oven-baked chicken and rice

A complete and delicious meal of lemon chicken and vegetable studded rice

For us, this is the ultimate comfort food; a meal where the ingredients cook together slowly so that the flavours meld and develop, while you sit back and spend quality time with family and friends as things get perfect in the oven.  This oven-baked chicken and rice dish is that kind of food.  Although there is some active stove top work to do before you can pop everything into the oven and forget it, the work is minimal, and easy.  The result, is most definitely worth it.

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Chicken kokkinisto with pasta (Κοτόπουλο κοκκινιστό με μακαρόνια)

Chicken kokkinisto with pasta

Simple ingredients slow-cooked to create the perfect Greek comfort food

There is a whole world of Greek food called kokkinista (κοκκινιστά), and we love them all.  The term kokkinista means reddened, and the concept behind these dishes is simple; take a protein or vegetable, cook it slowly in a rich tomato sauce, serve it over something that can help sop up this lovely sauce, and realize that great food does not need to be fancy or complicated.

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Stewed Swiss chard with vegetables and feta (Σέσκουλα γιαχνί με λαχανικά και φέτα)

Stewed Swiss chard with vegetables and feta (Σέσκουλα γιαχνί με λαχανικά και φέτα)

A perfect mess of vegetables that tastes better than you could hope

Feeling somewhat bloated and heavy after the holidays?  Resolved to eating healthier, including more vegetables in your diet, and to limiting processed foods?  Committed to cutting out all sweets, and eating only food which serves a vitamin and mineral fuelled purpose?  Well, we’re here to help!  And to remind you that we have a whole category of dessert recipes like galaktoboureko, baklava and koulourakia, because cutting out all sweets is dumb (unless your doctor tells you to cut out all sweets, in which case it’s very, very smart).

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Mushroom and chestnut phyllo triangles (Πιτάκια με μανιτάρια και κάστανα)

Mushroom and chestnut phyllo triangles (Πιτάκια με μανιτάρια και κάστανα)

A vegetarian meze that is slightly sweet, light and crispy; perfect two-bites!

Mushroom and chestnut phyllo triangles (Πιτάκια με μανιτάρια και κάστανα)

 

We think that phyllo is the answer to most of life’s food problems.  Although rolling out your own phyllo is a skill which is honed over years of practice (or much quicker if you have a great recipe like this one), store bought phyllo is a breeze! Seriously!  Don’t listen to the stories about how it dries out too quickly or tears easily.  In fact, once you get used to working with store bought phyllo, you’re going to find yourself searching for things to wrap up in it!  True story!

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Black-eyed pea soup with kale (Σούπα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια και κατσαρό λάχανο)

Black-eyed pea soup with kale (Σούπα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια και κατσαρό λάχανο)

This nutritional powerhouse of a soup will have you feeling great, and full!

Black-eyed pea soup with kale (Σούπα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια και κατσαρό λάχανο)

 

If you are a regular reader of Mia Kouppa, you may already be aware that we have a love affair with black-eyed peas.  We are actually fond of all things bean and legume, but the darling black-eyed pea holds a special place in our hearts…because it is so darn cute.  Take a good look at these beans, with their perfect small shape and perfectly situated black “eye” and we’re pretty sure you will agree, they are adorable!  Still, if you’re more mature than us and not that interested in appearances, we think we can convince you to love black-eyed peas anyways, because they are delicious, versatile and so, so good for you.

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Chicken with tomato sauce and peas (Κοτόπουλο κοκκινιστό με αρακά)

Chicken with tomato sauce and peas (Κοτόπουλο κοκκινιστό με αρακά)

A pot of goodness that will satisfy your whole family

Chicken with tomato sauce and peas (Κοτόπουλο κοκκινιστό με αρακά)

 

This may actually be one of our favourite meals. Not only does this dish of chicken, cooked alongside potatoes and peas in a rich tomato sauce satisfy all sorts of comfort cravings, it also comes together pretty easily.  Nothing too fancy in terms of technique or ingredients, this is humble, real Greek food.  This is the type of meal we grew up on, and this is the type of meal that we turn to today, when we want something that tastes like home.

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Spanakopasta

Spanakopasta

A deliciously quick and simple way to enjoy the flavours of spanakopita

Spanakopasta

 

Ask any non-Greek, or Greek, what one of their favourite Greek foods is, and you will often hear spanakopita.  There’s a very good reason for that!  Spanakopita, in all of its variations is a delicious treat; perfect as a meze, and at the same time substantial enough for a light meal.  The problem (if you are really trying hard to find one) is that spanakopita is encased in phyllo, which you either may not have on hand (if you are opting for the store bought variety) or which you may not have time to make (if you are going for the do-it-yourself variety).  Alas, every problem has a solution, and in this case the solution is pasta.

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Cod with eggplant and potatoes (Μπακαλιάρος με μελιτζάνες και πατάτες)

Cod with eggplant and potatoes (Μπακαλιάρος με μελιτζάνες και πατάτες)

Greek style fish and chips…with eggplant

There is something to be said for the thrill that comes with anticipation.  Like looking under the Christmas tree and seeing all of the gifts waiting to be opened.  Or carrying home the latest best-selling novel, imagining crawling into bed and cracking the spine.  Or marking “X”‘s on the calendar as you count down the days to your holiday.  Or opening up your refrigerator and seeing your fish soaking in cold water.  What joy!

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