Greek noodles and chicken prepared in a delicious tomato sauce
Have you ever had square pasta? Like small little squares of egg noodles that are delicate and full of flavour? If you’re Greek, or have ever visited a Greek home, we think that the answer might be (should be) Yes!
Hilopites are the small, square-shaped egg noodles that we grew up with. In fact, we have very vivid memories of our parents gathering with aunts and uncles and dear friends, spending the day making hilopites from scratch. Flour, water (or was it milk?), salt, eggs all worked together and transformed to make long strips of noodles that were then cut by hand into perfectly imperfect squares.
Meat or poultry cooked in tomato sauce is a staple in most Greek kitchens, including our parents’. This type of meal is called kokkinisto, which means red or reddened and refers to the fact that the cooking liquid is tomato sauce. Whether you choose to use meat, as we did in our veal kokkinisto recipe, or poultry as we are doing here, you will find that this method of cooking results in something absolutely delicious, with minimal effort. How wonderful is that!?
Happy Tsiknopempti everyone! It is carnival season in many areas of Greece and Cyprus and this festive week is called Kreatini (sandwiched between Profoni week and Tirofagou week). Tsiknopempti (Τσικνοπέμπτη), comes from the Greek words τσίκνα, which refers to the smell of roasting meat and Πέμπτη, which means Thursday. This is the day when many Greeks enjoy meat, and one of the last days in which this is permitted before the fast which precedes Greek Orthodox Easter. Typically it is roasted and grilled meats which are feasted upon, however we live in Canada, where it is snowstorm and freezing temperature season. Canadian winters make outdoor grilling and roasting a little uncomfortable and although we are all for tradition, we’re not crazy. So today, we offer a meat recipe to celebrate Tsiknopempti which does not require the great outdoors. Instead, here is the recipe for a traditional, slow braised veal in tomato sauce dish (kokkinisto / κοκκινιστό) with rice. Kokkinisto means reddened in Greek, and represents the fact that the veal is cooked in a tomato sauce.