Regular readers of my blog will know that I like to share dishes from a Greek magazine insert in the daily Kathimerini known as Gastronomos.
This magazine comes out each month and it features the month’s seasonal ingredients, introduces new products entering the Greek market and it showcases new artisan and crafted foods made by Greeks.
Gastronomos always has recipes included, featuring Greek classics and also deconstructing a classic and offering up neat twists or a regional take.
Last November, Gastronomos played with Spestofai, a stew of the sausages in a tomato and peppers sauce. My friend and fellow Greek food blogger Maria also recently made a Spetsofai with a twist by incorporating kataifi pastry into the dish. Have a look at her take and I encourage you to delve further into her delicious blog.
I first had Spetsofai (classic version) back in 1980 when my Theo Mitso (uncle) drove our family down to Volos. Spetsofai is a specialty of Pelion (near Volos) and quite often it’s chosen as a honeymoon destination for Greeks with it’s breathtaking views of the sea.
This is a hearty dish but here it’s transformed into a summer dish by using Spetsofai’s ingredients and applying it to the outdoor grill. The original recipe calls for the skewers to be baked in the oven but the warm months are here. I’m grilling this baby.
This grilled version of Spetsofai is simple: skewer alternate pieces of sausage with onions, red and green peppers. As for sausage, I used my family’s homemade Macedonian sausage but you can use Italian, Toulouse, Polish Spartan, Honey Garlic or just about any good sausage (except hot dogs).
For a more authentic taste of the local sausage used in Spetsofai, soak the pieces of sausage in some red wine for an hour or so…the sausages take on a wonderful flavour, look, aroma and of course – taste.
The final component of this dish is the sauce. Remember my Theio (uncle) Mitso? One of his favourite things to do is to make a foil packet containing whole onions, garlic, ripe tomatoes, garlic and peppers and throwing it on the grill to roast, caramelize and intensify in flavour.
I’ve enjoyed making this grilled warm dip, condiment (or in this case a sauce). After a good 30 minutes on the grill, I opened the packet, roughly chopped everything, added a bay leaf and some tomato puree to bring everything together as a sauce.
So there you have it…another option for the Greek Grill. This dish goes out to my Theo Mitso.
Spetsofai Gets Grilled (Î£Ï€ÎµÏ„Î¶Î¿Ï†Î¬Î¹ ÏƒÎµ ÏƒÎ¿Ï…Î²Î»Î¬ÎºÎ¹)
6 Greek sausages (I used Macedonian)
1/2 cup red wine
1 large red bell pepper, cut into cubes
1 large green bell pepper, cut into cubes
1 red red onion, quartered
wooden skewers (soaked in water for at least 2 hours)
For the sauce
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 green (banana) pepper
1 medium red onion
4 cloves of garlic
some olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup of t0mato puree
chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste
- Cut your sausages into 1 inch pieces and place in a bowl with the wine. Allow the sausages to soak in the wine while you prepare your vegetables for the skewers.
- Drain the sausages from the wine and discard the liquid. Insert alternate pieces of sausage, red and green pepper and onion on the skewers. If you have any pieces left, grill them or add them to the foil. Reserve or place in fridge until you’re ready to grill.
- Add all of your vegetable ingredients (skins intact) into a large piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil and tightly bundle up the packet. Place on a tray and roast in a pre-heated 400F oven or in your gas/charcoal grill. Roast for 30-40 minutes.
- Carefully remove the packet and open it. Peel off the skins & chop up your your vegetables (as fine or as coarsely as you like). Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat along with a couple of glugs of olive oil and add your chopped roasted vegetables, a bay leaf and the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer until heated through and the vegetables become a thick, chunky sauce. Season with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaf. Reserve and keep warm.
- Pre-heat your gas grill to a medium-high heat. Brush your grilling surface (remove any residue from prior grilling) and wipe your grill surface with a kitchen towel doused in vegetable oil.
- Reduce your heat to medium and grill your skewers on all sides, about 3 minutes (X 4) per side.
- Serve your Spetsofai skewers on a bed of the chunky tomato sauce and garnish with chopped fresh mint. A side of fries or a packet of BBQ potatoes make for a nice side.
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