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Gourmet Easter? Only if you cook yourself. At home

02 May 2013 / 18:05:26  GRReporter
5817 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

A few days before the biggest Christian holiday, preparations about what you will put on the festive table have already begun. On this occasion, GRReporter contacted one of the most famous TV cooks in Greece - Diane Kochilas for a blitz interview. In it, she spoke about traditional Greek dishes for the feast and gave valuable advice to hosts.

Ms Kochilas, in most Orthodox countries traditional Easter dishes include Tsoureki, eggs and lamb. But in Greece, there are other dishes - for example Kokoretsi and mageiritsa. Can you tell us about them?

All the traditional dishes of the Easter table are different in different regions of Greece. For example, the lamb or goat can be prepared in many ways - stuffed with rice or bulgur wheat, which is the recipe of the Dodecanese, or spit-roasted. In some regions of Central Greece the Kokoretsi dish is baked in the oven rather than spit-roasted. In other regions, such as Mani in the southern Peloponnese, the lamb or goat is roasted in the oven with artichokes.

The same applies for the mageiritsa dish. The method of preparation varies from soup to cooked viscera (liver, kidneys, and lungs). There are many local pastries, which are prepared with cheese, cinnamon, rose water, orange blossom distillate or even honey and they are typical of the Aegean islands.

How can we make the Easter table truly festive with the culinary arts?

Prefer cooking at home rather than organising a festive lunch in a restaurant.

What advice would you give to our readers so that they won’t overeat at the festive table?

Try everything, but in reasonable quantities.

How long should hosts spend in order to prepare a really rich Easter table?

I would say between one and two days. I do not include kneading Easter cakes, cookies and egg dyeing in this, which we do in the week before Easter (Passion Week).

What would you recommend to those of us who are more immoderate? What should we eat in the days after Easter in order to lose the weight we have gained?

Salads, protein and fruit. Stay away from bread and sweets.

How can we use the food that remains after Easter?

There are many recipes for boiled eggs. Lamb or goat can be cooked as pasta sauce or slices of homemade gyros and many others.

Here are two recipes from Diane Kochilas for Easter, which were presented in her show “Ti tha fame simera mama?” (What's cooking mum?) aired by the Greek Alpha TV channel.

Stuffed lamb from the island of Samos


1 lamb liver, membrane removed, cut into serving pieces

1 lamb or goat shoulder

8 scallions, white parts only, finely chopped

1 bunch dill, finely chopped

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

olive oil

1 cup rice

1 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

Juice of 1 - 2 lemons

Zest of ½ lemon, grated


Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion over medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes, then add salt and pepper. Add the water and let the mixture boil until all the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the mixture into a deep bowl. Stir in the chopped dill and parsley and a bit of the grated lemon zest. Then, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pan and stir-fry the finely chopped liver on medium heat for about 5 minutes until browned. Add it to the rest of the mixture. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Using a sharp knife, cut off the unnecessary fat from the meat, but keep the membrane. Then, with the same knife carefully separate the membrane. Continue using your hands, until a "pocket" between the membrane and meat is formed. Be careful not to break it.

Place the shoulder in a large greased tray. Spoon the filling in the "pocket", filling each opening. Leave a space of about 4 cm, since the rice will swell during baking. Press the skin down to close. Brush the shoulder with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and then sprinkle with the lemon juice. Spread the remaining filling into the pan around the shoulder. Fill the tray with water, so that it reaches the middle of its sides. Sprinkle with half a cup of olive oil. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 190 degrees Celsius. It takes 40 minutes per kilogramme of meat. Baste the shoulder with the juices from the pan every 15 - 20 minutes. If necessary, add more water. A medium size shoulder will be done in about 2 hours. When ready, remove the shoulder from the oven and leave it to rest for 20 minutes.

Serve on a large plate, gently loosening the membrane and removing the stuffing and rice with liver from the pan around the meat.

Mageiritsa “Stegni” (Dry)


750 g lamb liver, membrane removed

¼ cup unsalted butter or olive oil

1 bunch green onions, white and tender green parts, cut into large pieces

1 ½ cups tomatoes, preferably fresh, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks,

Freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup dill, snipped


Tags: Society Easter gastronomy recipes Diane Kochilas
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