Pork With Leeks & Celery

The traditional Greek diet wasn’t so meat-centered as it is today but meat always was part of the diet.

My parents (both from the the northern Prefecture of Florina) recall when the family pig was slaughtered. Nothing went to waste. The whole pig was used from snout to tail to hoof…everything but the pig’s squeal.

Up until yesterday, Greece has been enjoying some mild temperatures (even by Greece’s standards). I saw Greeks sitting and supping at the tavernas but not indoors. They were seen & heard dining and drinking at the tables situated outside tavernas!

At last, Greeks can seek the warm comforts of a taverna, many with a fireplace lit, the sounds of Greek music in the background and Greek wine flowing. Dionysus would be proud.

This dish is a Greek classic: pork with celery and leeks. All three ingredients abundant in the winter. The pork, fresh from the slaughter; leeks and celery, two vegetables that flourish in the Greek winter.

For this dish, I like using lean pork loin, sliced into 1/2 inch servings and pounded into thin cutlets. Leeks provide the bottom end of the flavour, the celery chimes in on the mid-range and the dried Greek oregano and fresh dill round out this symphony of flavours.

I’m also using lemon peel. I want the lemon flavour without excessive tang. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end is all that’s needed.

Finally, smoked paprika. One of my favourite items in the pantry. I used to have to get my smoked paprika from the farmer’s market (each Monday) that passed through my dad’s hometown (Amynteon) until last year. I found a source of Greek, YES Greek smoked paprika at the Kapani central market in Thessaloniki.

Pork With Leeks & Celery

(Serves 4)

1lb. of pork loin, cut into 1/2 inch slices

salt and pepper

flour for dredging

1/2 cup Greek extra-virgin olive oil

2 leeks (white part), rinsed well/rid of any dirt/grit and sliced

2 stalks of celery, sliced

peel of 1/2 lemon, sliced + its juice (use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel)

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock

1 red shepherd sweet pepper (Florinis), sliced into rings

4 Pepporincini, pickled green peppers, sliced

1 tsp. smoked paprika

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1 tsp. dried Greek oregano

2 tsp. chopped fresh dill

  1. Rinse and pat-dry your pork. Cut into 1/2 inch slices and place between two pieces of cling-wrap and pound out into 1/2 cm. cutlets. Season with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in all-purpose flour.
  2. Place a large skillet on your stove-top over medium heat and sprinkle some flour to test if the oil is hot enough. Brown your pork for a couple of minutes a side and reserve.
  3. Into the same skillet, add your vegetables (leeks, celery, red peppers, peperoncini), smoked paprika and sliced lemon peel and allow to sweat for a couple of minutes while stirring. Now add your stock, white wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil.
  4. Now add your pork cutlets back into the skillet – nestled into the sauce. There should be enough sauce to just come-up to the sides of the pork. Add some more water or stock if needed. Cover and bring to a boil. Now reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30-35 minutes. Check halfway through for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Your sauce should have thickened by now. Take off the heat, check for seasoning and adjust. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and your dried Greek oregano and chopped fresh dill.
  6. Serve with some garlic mashed potatoes, some steamed broccoli tossed in olive oil and lemon juice and serve with a Vatistas Petroulianos white. Don’t forget that crusty bread!

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© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

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Peter Minakis

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37 Comments for “Pork With Leeks & Celery”

says:

This is one of my favourite dishes and I love all the ingredients you’ve added to it. I cook it in the oven in a gastra.

says:

This “hirno” dish really is a classic Peter. My parents usually prepare something similar using beef (all stewed together). I’m going to bookmark this and prepare it when the weather gets cooler.

says:

I’m doing a lot with leeks right now, too. This recipe sounds great. Paprika never comes to mind when I am thinking Greek in the kitchen, so it’s an education for me, to learn that there is such a thing as Greek paprika! Thanks for the post.

says:

This looks wonderful, Peter. And you’ve just wielded the two by four that I needed to remind me that leeks should be showing up in my winter recipes. Thank you! :)

says:

I am not a huge fan of raw celery, but braised like this…heavenly!! I love pork but there are a few parts other than the pig’s squeal that I will not eat!!! This dish however…bring it on!!!

Ξανθή

says:

Πολύ αγαπημένο από την αυθεντική Ελληνική κουζίνα!!!

says:

Peter you make everything looks so good! Because of you I bought smoked paprika, and love it now. This sounds and looks outstanding!

says:

Πέτρο χρόνια πολλά και καλή χρονιά!
Καταπληκτικό το χοιρινό με το πρασοσέλινο.

says:

I always bake pork tenderloin as an easy and fast dish I wonder if these yummy spices could be used with it!
your photos always make it mouthwatering.
I am looking for a wooden mold that says “Christ is risen” in Greek. Do you have any idea where I might look? It is to imprint some traditional rolls we eat in Lebanon coming out of service (the greek orthodox, but then everybody eats them!)
Merci!

says:

That looks really good! It is so vibrant, juicy and colourful. I just happen to have a jar of pepporincini that is just looking for a home as well.

R

says:

Just came back from the Thessaloniki Film Festival. Bought some (loose) smoked paprika from the local market. Holy Toledo! The smell was intense and smelled up the hotel room. It had been packed in a little sack and the red color burned through so the white sack turned red. A week later, you can smell it in my kitchen at home, even though it’s in a spice container. I don’t mind at all! I figure it is the real deal, since it was in a tiny shop with other loose spices as well as a jar of leeches for sale.