local-kiwi-alien

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Gamopilafo

A Kretan specialty, wedding pilaf
Made with
fatty  mutton, or goat, stakovoutiro (cream), rice , lemon juice, salt and pepper

We lived on Crete for three years back in the 80s in a primitive old house in a tiny village where the girls started school.  Each teacher taught 2 classes/years together.  It was a lot of fun.  The kids learnt to run wild, a big change from the confined city life they had known for their first few years.  

The first year we lived in a house built on 2 storeys with steep, narrow wooden stairs leading to the top level.  The walls were a couple of feet thick, built with stone.  A rather primitive bathroom had been constructed on the upper terrace which leaked like a seive when it rained.  Water cuts were frequent and often I ran the washing machine by filling it up with buckets of water hauled from a communal tap across the road or left buckets of clothes outside in the sun to soak and washed by hand.

We lived there for a year before moving into Navy housing.  

We had parties in the back garden of the village house, where the pig pen had been, met all the villagers and took part in social functions, name days and fiestas, and weddings.

This pilaf is a speciality served at the beginning of the wedding feast.  It fills up the stomach ready-ing it for long hours of drinking, more eating and dancing.



Boil the fatty mutton till tender.  I simmered it in a pressure cooker for just over an hour.  If I was using this mutton for another recipe, maybe with a tomato and garlic sauce and fat macaroni I would have thrown out (changed) the first water after simmering for half an hour.  This is to make sure there is no 'odour' of the animal.  In this recipe you need all the fat and aroma to flavour the rice.


When the meat is tender remove it from the pot and strain the broth in the pot.  Straining is necessary, or at least fishing out any small pieces of bone with a slotted spoon.  

Keep the meat separate and squeeze lemon juice over it and a bit of olive oil.

Now eyeball or measure the stock left in the pot.  For every 3 cups of stock add one cup of rice.  We use a rice called 'carolina' which is neither long grain nor short grain and can be used for just about everything from risotto to rice pudding.

Cook the rice for 20 minutes till soft and then add about 1/4 cup of lemon juice or the juice of a couple of lemons.  Add more according to taste.

If it is available and you want an authentic dish then you must add a couple of tablespoons of 'stakovoutiro'.  This is the cream from the top of the goat's milk.  

When we lived in Crete a friend of mine would thicken this up with a little flour.  Oh boy is it delicious, and full of fat.




Serve the rice with some of the boiled meat.  

It leaves a fatty film around the mouth but, once again, oh boy is it delicious.  Rice boiled in the juices of the meat and that tender boiled meat with lots of lemon juice and salt and pepper.  Perfect for drinking a lot of cretan wine, or any sort of wine, especially the old greek classic, retsina, which helps to cut through the fat.

Actually you can make a much less fattier version using a tough old rooster, chicken or turkey.  Less fat but still full of delicious flavour.

Writing this has brought to mind, vividly a lot of other Cretan specialities.  I think I have another post to write!


24 comments:

  1. That looks so good, i am waiting to the next post:)

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    1. Waiting for.(I think in Hebrew).

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    2. Thinking about Crete I know I can write a lot! I loved it down there, didn't want to leave

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  2. What are you trying to do to me - the word 'eyeball' leapt off the page and almost gave me a fit of the vapours. ;) Truth to tell, 20 or 30 years ago I would have loved this dish, we ate a lot of mutton when I was a child. Like Yael, I say bring on the posts!

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    1. No eyeballs in this dish! I'm sure there will be in future recipes though!!
      I loved Crete

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  3. Oh please do, write a post, about life in a tiny village, on Crete!!!!! Ohhhh yes, please do!!!!

    Please...

    Pretty please...

    Pretty please with sugar on it....

    :-)

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    1. A tiny village 30 years ago! Never been back. Bet it has changed a lot since then. I'll have to start writing, memories

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  4. I have seen something like this in Turkey, they then put a layer yoghurt and melted butter in the bottom, then a layer of rice in the bottom of an earthenware pot, then a layer of the shredded meat then the rice on top. they add a good covering of heavily salted butter to the top in good blobs and then bake it in the oven. it makes a hard crust on the top and bottom. I think it is their version of a biryani. it comes out top and bottom crunchy. if they are rich people they make the meat with saffron in the water when boiling it. It is called something like Tahjin. close the the word tagine. they cut it into squares like a lasagne.

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    1. Sounds fantastic. A bit more elaborate than this lamb pilaf

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    2. They use mutton or goat, but it is boiled like you described.

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  5. If I was planning a night of drinking dancing and merry making this would be perfect.
    But alas!
    A big night for me these days is starting a movie at 8.00pm and watching it all
    I know. I’m a party animal lol

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    1. I prefer quiet evenings but sometimes it is just not possible!



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    2. Nope. Not with the Greek family and friends around lol

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  6. It doesn't look particularly inviting, but I bet it tastes wonderful. I might try inventing my own version!

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    1. Just boil the rice in the juices/broth of your meat of choice. Very very tasty, and simple. If it is chicken then put the chicken in the oven a short while to brown. I don't like pale white boiled chicken, though in a salad it would be ok

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  7. Another use for the lemons too.

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    1. Those darn lemons. We got given another huge bag the other day and our own trees are laden. Im tired of juicing. Looking for other victims to hand them on!

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  8. Your life has been very interesting linds; you have lived in many places which has enriched you immensely.

    This dish (minus the eyeballs) sounds deliscious. Fat absorbes alcohol and this means you can party without getting drunk. Greeks and Italians are cousins; they have a lot in common.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Not ”linds” but ”Linda”
      x

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    2. Didn't think about the fat absorbing alcohol. No wonder it is the first dish at a cretan wedding!
      Italians and greeks are so alike. But I think greeks and turks are alike ... dont tell anyone I said that!
      How can we not be, Italians, Turks, Albanians, Bulgarians, are right on our boeders, borders which were not there hundreds of years ago ... well, except for the adriatic sea

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  9. Sounds absolutely scrummy.

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    1. The rice is delicious. Full of the flavour of the meat, with a lot of lemon juice, salt and pepper

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  10. That looks really yummy, I wonder if you could substitute the rice for something else.

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    1. Any thing cooked in that meat broth would be delicious!

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