Tag Archives: greek food

Venison Liver a la Hermes Diaktoros …

20 Jun

Have you ever done this thing where you read in a novel what somebody is eating and you immediately want to have that for yourself? That you were licking lips while you heard the descriptions, and your stomach started to rumble.

I did.

Hermes Diaktoros is a Greek detective, written by Anne Zouroudi*, who solves crimes in a variety of settings around the Aegean. If you’ve not read them, DO. They are really good. I’m saving at the moment to get the newest one on my kindle. But, this is not a book reviewing place.

The description I’m talking about comes from The Whispers of Nemesis, where Hermes and a taxi-driver called Hassan are sharing a plate of goat liver:

It was, as Hassan had said, a fresh, well-flavoured mouthful: a touch of pink at the centre, the onions soft and flavoursome, the whole made interesting with a scattering of thyme.

Not only is it interesting to me as it shows a Greek take on liver and onions. It also talks about liver cooked in a sensitive way. And thyme is my favourite herb.

I didn’t have any goat liver, but I did get some venison liver a while ago, and was inspired to try and feel a bit Greek (but without the murders) in Beeston.

I floured the liver, pan fried it for a couple of minutes each side and served it on top of two potato farls (a lot of my family is Irish too), a bit of Greek salad and LOADS of fresh thyme. It was super tasty.

Have cooked something from a novel? What are your favourite food novels?

I’ve not read any James Joyce (the shame) but I know he’s all over the offal. I know this because my very supportive godmother posted this:

“Mr. Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls”

Then there was an interessting discussion about how offal because part of national cuisine, when a country has a high level of meat export. In this case, beef and lamb cuts exported to the British Army from Ireland. Just leaving the trotters and chitterlings behind.

Who says offal isn’t political?

*she is a second cousin of the Barnsdale branch of our family. That’s by the by.

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Greek Chicken Soup

1 Apr

I’ve not eaten this in Greece, nor actually asked any of my Greek friends whether it is at all Greek, but it was taught to me by a Greek Cypriot who was my boss in the chip shop, and since then has been called Greek Chicken Soup.

It cures all ills, whether they are emotional (I was in a mega grump a few days ago) or physical (D Dizzle got a bad flu virus), and is super delicious. It makes a nice summer soup – I’ve never really got my head around cold soups – but some of this kind of warm is very refreshing.

Part soup, part risotto, it does take some time to prepare as the goodness is all in the stock that you make. If you’ve just thought “oh I’ll just use cubes”, then you’ll miss out on a lot of Getting Better Power. Just saying. But the beauty of this is in the holistic power of the chicken meat, skin, cartilage and bone. A whole chicken carcass, post-Sunday lunch works well. I learnt to cook it with chicken wings. Chicken thighs work nicely too, especially if you’re a lover of the dark meat. But my favourite way to make the stock is with these bad boys:

As an aside at this point, I did run a competition on twitter if you could guess correctly what this was. Twitter fail! I don’t think I have enough twitterlings yet, so if you’d like to, feel free to add me – look to the right. If you’re pon the case of twitter, then feel equally free not to, but bear in mind you might be missing out! But Facebook win, and MotherEagle a prize will wing it’s way to you soon!

By the way, that is a chicken neck. Not a penis, or tripe, or tapioca. Neck. From the African butcher in the market. Chicken neck is a dark meat too.

Here is not a recipe, but more a guideline to making your own Greek Chicken Soup. Adjust times and ingredients accordingly. It is a very forgiving dish.

  1. Take 1 lb of chicken – necks, legs, wings, thighs, a carcass – a cocktail of the above. What is important is the bones in it. So breast is no good. Place in a pan and cover with water and bring to the boil. This is going to simmer for a few hours (at least two) until the meat falls off the bone when gently teased with an utensil.If you feel the water is getting low, top it up as it definitely does not want to burn dry.
  2. When you think you’ve got to that stage, place a colander over an empty mixing bowl or pan and strain the chickeny broth through. What you need to do now is separate the meat from the bones. I use my (clean) fingers. With necks, you won’t get every single tiny scrap off, but that’s ok. Reserve only the meat, the boiled skin doesn’t taste that nice in the soup and anyway it’s already given a lot of its fat and nutrient to the stock.
  3. Now you should have a bowl of stock and a bowl of meat.
  4. Take a heavy-bottomed pan and put a slug on oil in the bottom. Finely chop an onion and fry it until it’s translucent. You might want to add a little garlic, you might not.
  5. Add two fistfuls of PUDDING RICE. Yes that’s right, the rice used for the making of the rice pudding from scratch. If you can’t get it or don’t have it, you can use risotto or paella rice. I imagine you could use barley. But nothing long grain nor indeed basmati. They are not appropriate here. If you feel like carb-loading, put three handfuls in. Stir it all together.
  6. Add the meat, stirring.
  7. Now, you need to ask the question, how lemony do I want this? If the answer is pretty lemony, then zest one lemon now (you’ll need the juice of two in total) and add that to the pan.
  8. But what of my delicious stock? Now is its moment of glory. Add it back to the pan. The top it up (if you need to) with water so that it’s all covered.
  9. Add the juice of two lemons.
  10. Simmer and stir for about twenty minutes.
  11. Decide how liquid you would like it – if it’s a bit too risotto-y, add a bit more water.

It should, according to my taste, be melting and have enough stock left for you to have some soupy spoons and some foody spoons, maybe a bit porridgey in consistency?

It tastes even better the next day.