Here’s to raising a glass and wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
Happy New Year and lots of love from Yianni and I. Love from Ben, Jason, Rahbi, Max, and also our Yorkies, Stanley and Stella.
If you are wondering if the little boys and I made our annual Christmas koulouria, the answer is yes, of course! Can you find which are mine? Which ones are made by the boys?Here’s the recipe. Happy New Year!
This is a traditional Greek recipe for a phyllo pie with pumpkin filling instead of spinach. If you like spanakotiropita, try this savory and delicious variation, kolokythopita. I made one today to celebrate the first day of autumn.
A printable recipe is at the bottom of this post. I’ll walk you through it with these photos. First, preheat your oven to 375°F.
You’ll need the entire box of phyllo (fillo). The night before you make your pita take it out of the freezer and thaw it in the fridge.
To start, wash and chop the leeks.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the leeks. Saute gently. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
You can use crumbled feta or cube a 1/2 lb of a solid block.
Mince or rough chop the fresh parsley, it’s a personal preference. I like a rustic rough chop. Combine the pumpkin, feta cheese, parsley, breadcrumbs, milk, dried herbs, pepper and eggs. Mix well.
Brush a 13 x 9 inch pan with melted butter. Layer the phyllo pastry in the pan, brushing each layer with butter before adding the next. Use 8 – 10 phyllo sheets for the bottom. Spoon the pumpkin filling into the pan on the layered and buttered phyllo sheets. Distribute the mixture evenly with a spatula.
Layer the remaining phyllo sheets neatly on top, buttering each. Turn any overhanging phyllo inwards and over the top. Butter the last sheet generously. Don’t worry about the phyllo layers being perfect. Work quickly and don’t let the phyllo dry out.
Using a tip of a small, sharp knife, score the pie by cutting gently through the top layers of pastry. Just pierce the top few layers. Score the pastry by the width too, creating a guide for what will be the pieces when the pie is served.
Bake for approximately an hour, when it is golden brown, remove the pita from the oven. Cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting all the way through the scored pieces. Pita may be served hot or room temperature. This is a savory pumpkin pita recipe, but there is also a traditional Greek sweet pumpkin kolokythopita. Either can be made with pumpkin, squash or zucchini.
Last Sunday was Greek Easter and as always my family gathered for the day and dinner. The weather was beautiful. We grilled our leg of lamb outside. The boys ran around, played in the yard on the green grass and on my green swing. They were having too much fun for a serious photo.
I added one new recipe to my menu this Easter. I made Greek Easter soup, Magiritsa. This recipe takes me back to fond memories of my Yiayia Yeoryia (Georgia). She made it every Easter with the offal (organ meat) from the spring lamb. May her memory be eternal.
Per Wikipedia: “Magiritsa is a Greek soup made from lamb offal, associated with the Easter tradition of the Greek Orthodox Church. Accordingly, Greek-Americans and Greek-Canadians sometimes call it “Easter soup”. Don’t be confused by the different phonetic spellings of magiritsa/magheritsa. If you Google either you’ll get at least 1,000 results.
I boiled lamb trimmings from the Eastern Market butcher shop where we purchased our leg of lamb. I added carrots, leeks, salt, peppercorns and a bouquet garni of parsley stems. I did this on Saturday, the day before Easter. After the mixture came to a rigorous boil and simmered, I drained the broth and refrigerated it.
On Sunday morning I skimmed off all the fat that had floated to the top. Refrigeration provides an easy way to remove the fat from broths.
Then on Sunday before dinner, I brought the broth back to a boil, added orzo and simmered for 9 minutes. My daughter-in-law, Erin and I added the avgolemono. Tempering eggs is so much easier with extra hands. We used an immersion blender for the eggs and for tempering them with the broth.
I garnished the magiritsa soup with parsley (instead of the traditional dill). My entire family loved it.
Thank you Peter for your easy and modern recipe. I know Yiayia Yeoryia was looking down at us and was pleased. Christos Anesti!
Neo-Magiritsa soup, an updated recipe of a traditional Greek soup by Peter Minaki of Kalofagas. Magiritsa is a traditional Greek soup made for Orthodox Easter.
Author: Peter Minaki
Recipe type: Soup
1½ kg. of lamb shoulder [or other cuts like shank, ribs, necks]
Enough water to cover the meat
¼ cup olive oil
12 scallions, sliced [I used 2 leeks]
½ bunch finely chopped dill
½ cup finely chopped parsley
½ cup Arborio rice [I used Orzo]
salt and pepper to taste [I added a bouquet garni, a bundle of herbs tied together with cheese cloth]
garnish ½ fresh chopped dill [I used parsley]
BROTH - Rinse your lamb pieces and place in a large pot
Cover with enough water to just cover the meat
Add about Tbsp. of sea salt
Cover and bring to a boil then lower and simmer for about 2½ hours or until the meat falls off the bone
Remove from the heat, adjust seasoning if necessary
Remove meat and pull off the bone, remove any fat and cartilage
Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces
Add the hot stock, meat, rice, parsley, dill and bring up to a boil then lower to medium and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked [This is where I added the leeks, carrots, and bouquet garni]
AVGOLEMONO - Crack your eggs in a bowl and add the juice of 2 lemons and whisk until just frothy
Once the rice is cooked in the soup, remove from the heat and slowly add hot stock into your bowl of egg and lemon while whisking
While whisking add about 4-5 more ladles to temper and the heat of the egg/lemon mixture
Pour the tempered egg/lemon mixture back into the soup pot, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add the remaining ½ cup fresh dill
Kreatopita – meat pie [or more correctly, Kreatoprasopita – meat and leek pie] is what my Mother made to celebrate the New Year. She would hide a coin in one of the corners of the crust for one of her 4 children. The child that chose the piece with the coin was said to have good luck in the coming New Year.
Ingredients: ground beef [or lamb], leeks, eggs, butter and phyllo…
…salt, pepper, oregano and basil.
Sauté the washed and finely cut leeks in butter. Melt butter for phyllo.
In a separate pan, brown the ground meat. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Set aside to cool.
Sauté leeks until wilted and golden. Set aside to cool.
While leeks and meat are cooling, place 10 individually buttered phyllo pastry sheets on the bottom of a baking pan. Butter each one of the phyllo sheets with a pastry brush. Be gentle, but know that the phyllo is forgiving. Similar to papier-mâché or wallpaper. Have courage! Work fast. Don’t let it dry out. Kontos phyllo comes in different thickness:
#4 = thin and pliable – ideal for panned pastries and small hors d’oeuvres
#5 = thin and crispy – for wrapped triangles or baklava
#7 = thicker but flexible – for large entrées or desserts
#10 = thickest – more rustic for country style pies and spanakopita
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