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!?
A few months ago, while we were scrolling through Pinterest, we came across recipes for porcupine meatballs. Intrigued, and slightly horrified, we investigated and were pleased to discover that these are not made of porcupine meat. In fact, porcupine meatballs are just regular meatballs with rice added to the mix; because the rice kind of pokes out of the cooked meatballs, they appear prickly, like porcupines. Cute. We grew up with something kind of similar, although the Greek version doesn’t have such a silly name; in Greek households they are called yiouvarlakia.
It’s not often that a two-bit character actor is cast in a leading role. It’s rare for a back-up singer to move center stage, and win a Grammy. It’s unusual for a second-string quarterback to somehow lead the league in touchdown passes. And it’s surprising that a plain Jane vegetable, which is usually part of a basic trio (think: saute onion, garlic and celery…), becomes the focus of an entire, decadent meal. But this is a celery Cinderella story, and we’re here to tell it.