Kokoretsi (Κοκορέτσι)

Apr 7th, 2010 | By | Category: Appetizer, Easter, Featured, Greek Traditions, Lamb, Meze, Offal, Recipes

Another usual suspect that’s present at the Greek Easter table is Kokoretsi. It’s a rotisserie dish made up of skewering seasoned lamb or goat organ meat, wrapped in caul fat and then by yards of cleaned intestines. There are tavernas in Greece that specialize in grilled meats, rotisserie and serve up Kokoretsi all year ’round but for Easter, practically every Greek home will undertake to prep and serve their family their very own version of Kokoretsi.

This recipe is simple, straight forward as only salt, pepper and Greek oregano are the used for seasoning. What’s more important is the approach: clean your intestines well, cut your organ meat to about 1 inch pieces, wrap in the caul fat and then finally, the intestines.

This recipe comes courtesy of befriending the folks who travel around Greece, feeding Greeks all year’ round at “Panagyris” or festivals with rotisserie lamb, grilled meats and of course, Kokoretsi.

One of the reasons why I love Greek Easter is that our cuisine shines it all it’s food dynamism. Greek Easter is a full-day affair…the lamb on the spit takes all day and as we all wait for it to be enjoyed, we nibble on an array of dips, dance on the fuel of Ouzo, wine and Greek spirit and sample the grilled array of meats throughout the day.

One such meat is Kokoretsi. For those that read my blog often, you’ll recall that liver and I don’t groove that well.

But, “why does Peter like Kokoretsi” when it’s full of organ meat?

Something magical happens with Kokoretsi. Could it be the sweetbreads that are skewered/alternated between each piece of liver/organ meat? Could it be the caul fat or the yards of intestine that are wrapped and contain this olden recipe that’s a fixture of the Greek Easter feast? I think it’s all of the above and a sure case of the sum being greater than all of it’s parts. I love Kokoretsi and I will always offer it for Easter.

Kokoretsi  (Κοκορέτσι)

(recipe update from April 2008)

the organ meat of 2 lamb or goats (I don’t use the spleen or heart)

the sweetbreads from two lamb or goats

intestines of 2 lamb or goats

caul fat from 2-3 lamb or goats

coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

2 1 tsp. dried Greek oregano

dried Greek oregano

  1. It’s important to wash, rinse and clean the intestines as soon as possible after purchasing. Invert the intestines and soak in a bowl with water and lemon juice for a couple of hours. Repeat 2-3 times more. Our family also uses a wooden dowel and we pass the rod through every inch of the intestines before using.
  2. Rinse sweetbreads, and cut into pieces (no more than 1 inch)
  3. Rinse the remaining organ meat and cut all the pieces into equal-sized pieces (about 1 inch in size) and add into the bowl with the lamb sweetbreads.
  4. For this recipe, add about 2 heaping teaspoons of sea salt and 1 tsp. of black pepper, 1 heaping tsp. of dried Greek oregano and toss to coat and season all the pieces of meat.
  5. Thread meats alternately on your spit/skewer: one piece of liver then one sweetbread, one piece of lung then one sweetbread. It’s important that you alternate one piece of sweetbread with the other meats (the fat content will guarantee you a moist and delicious end result.
  6. To soften your caul fat, place in a bowl of warm water from your tap and allow them to steep for about five minutes. Remove from the bowl and place under your meats that have already been skewered. Your aim is to securely wrap the Kokoretsi with a layer of caul fat. Trim any excess caul fat and reserve and freeze for future use (Cypriot Seftalia).
  7. Drain and pat-dry your cleaned intestines. Tie the intestine near to or at the top end of the Kokoretsi and loop underneath and over the bottom end and wrap it vertically about 6-8 times (this step is important as it will make wrapping the Kokortetsi easier/less slippery).
  8. The easiest way to wrap the rest of the Kokoretsi is with someone to assist you. While your friend is turning the Kokoretsi, feed them a line of intestine and horizontally wrap the around going up and down the entire Kokoretsi’s length. On occasion, your intestines will break or end, simply wrap a new piece of intestine around some of the already wrapped intestine and continue to wrap until your Kokoretsi has been entirely covered in intestines and you’ve used up all your intestines.
  9. Place your Kokoretsi in a pan and make enough room in your fridge to store for at an hour. Tilt the Kokoretsi on a slight angle so that any remaining liquid may drain into the pan.
  10. Prepare your rotisserie over your gas or charcoal grill. You are looking for a medium heat (count to about 5 when placing your hand over the heat). Remove your Kokoretsi from the fridge, discard any liquid in the pan and pat-dry the Kokoretsi. Season the outside well with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and secure on your rotisserie. Cook for about 90-120 minutes or until the outer layer (intestines) are a deep brown colour and crisp to the touch.
  11. Carefully remove the Kokoretsi from the rotisserie and allow to rest until you can safely remove the skewer from the meat. Slice the Kokoretsi into 1 inch rounds and plate. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice, season with a little fine sea salt and some dried Greek oregano. Serve with some Ouzo, Tsipouro or a good Retsina, like the Kechribari.
  12. Grill slowly over medium-hot coals and, if using a rotisserie with a BBQ, place a pan with water to prevent burning or fat flare-ups. Slow roast on your rotisserie for approx. 2 hours or until the outside is crisp and brown and firm to the touch.
  13. Carefully slide the meat off the rotisserie and slice into 1 inch pieces. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice, sprinkle some dried oregano and serve as an appetizer/meze.

Notes:

  • It’s important to clean your intestines well and this is likely the most time consuming part of making Kokoretsi
  • You must use lamb or goat sweetbreads (not calf sweetbreads) as they are smaller/more uniform in size with your lamb/goat organ meat
  • Wrap the the intestines a few times vertically around the caul fat. Failure to this will leave you frustrated as the intestines slip and slide off your Kokoretsi.
  • You may divide this recipe if your table setting is for less

 

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at  http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

Related Articles:


Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

© 2010 – 2011, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved.

Print Friendly

Related Posts



63 Comments to “Kokoretsi (Κοκορέτσι)”

  1. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I went away for a couple of days only to find that you’ve been up to some awesome cooking. Both lamb dishes had me dreaming of little fatty titbits, lots of tsatsiki and some cold vino down my throat.

  2. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I went away for a couple of days only to find that you’ve been up to some awesome cooking. Both lamb dishes had me dreaming of little fatty titbits, lots of tsatsiki and some cold vino down my throat.

  3. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I went away for a couple of days only to find that you’ve been up to some awesome cooking. Both lamb dishes had me dreaming of little fatty titbits, lots of tsatsiki and some cold vino down my throat.

  4. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I went away for a couple of days only to find that you’ve been up to some awesome cooking. Both lamb dishes had me dreaming of little fatty titbits, lots of tsatsiki and some cold vino down my throat.

  5. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I went away for a couple of days only to find that you’ve been up to some awesome cooking. Both lamb dishes had me dreaming of little fatty titbits, lots of tsatsiki and some cold vino down my throat.

  6. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I went away for a couple of days only to find that you’ve been up to some awesome cooking. Both lamb dishes had me dreaming of little fatty titbits, lots of tsatsiki and some cold vino down my throat.

  7. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I went away for a couple of days only to find that you’ve been up to some awesome cooking. Both lamb dishes had me dreaming of little fatty titbits, lots of tsatsiki and some cold vino down my throat.

  8. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I went away for a couple of days only to find that you’ve been up to some awesome cooking. Both lamb dishes had me dreaming of little fatty titbits, lots of tsatsiki and some cold vino down my throat.

  9. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I went away for a couple of days only to find that you’ve been up to some awesome cooking. Both lamb dishes had me dreaming of little fatty titbits, lots of tsatsiki and some cold vino down my throat.

  10. Peter G says:

    I too have “issues” with certain cuts of offal. But come Greek Easter time I’m enjoying mageritsa and kokkoretsi like there’s no tomorrow!

  11. farida says:

    We make something similar in Azerbaijan. I like it:)

  12. Laurie Constantino says:

    The first organ meat I ever enjoyed was Kokoretsi – something about the smoke and lavish amounts of oregano really do wonders for offal. The real key is cleaning the intestines really well, thus, I’ll only eat it when I know and trust how it was prepared. I’d love to eat yours!

  13. Emiline says:

    Ugh, I’m a little intimidated by the organ meat, but I’ll take your word for it. Just don’t tell me what it is, when you serve it to me. ;)
    All of the Greek partying sounds like a blast!

  14. "ζαχαρούλα.." says:

    kalispera!!!
    to kokoretsi to timisame deontws to Pasxa.. agapimeni elliniki sintagi!!!!

    wraio blog!!!

    filia apo Ellada!!!!!!!

  15. nipsum says:

    How do you do.
    I hope to see blog.
    Please link to this site.

  16. Anonymous says:

    xronia polla apo Ellada
    http://www.radiopoint.gr

  17. Judy @ No Fear Entertaining says:

    I have issues with “organ meat” as well, and like you I keep trying it. I know how good it is for me but I have not found a way that I can eat it! I would love to try it this way sometime but there is no way I could ever cook it. Maybe sometime I will happen upon Kokoretsi!

  18. Lynda says:

    Hmmm usually I like the food porn on your blog… not so sure about the organ meat…
    Did have a tripe soup in Istanbul once that was said to be a fantastic hangover cure if eaten at midnight on new years eve… it was delicious (once I got over what it was) and I felt great the next day.

  19. Ben says:

    I’ll have to take your word on this, Peter. I do not enjoy internal organs that much (only a few), but if I ever spend an Easter with Greeks I will make sure to try it. Did you guys eat all the food that day or do you still have leftovers? Hehehe

    Cheers!

  20. Peter M says:

    Nina, I just had to share my Easter experiences with you all.

    Pete, Kokoretsi and mageritsa just taste great, it has to be an X-factor thing.

    Farida, varying recipes of Kokoretsi appear in the Balkans, Turkey and the near east.

    Laurie, the intestine-cleaning was under the close watch of my mom…no one was shy to try it and they all enjoyed it!

    Emiline, usually one is plied with booze, get hungry and break down & try it and end up loving it…it tastes great!

    Zaxaroula, Efharisto poli kai ela sto blog pio sixna.

    Efharistio Radiopoint…great tunes!

    Judy, as i stated…I don’t do liver & onions but this just tastes good…some Greek restaurants still serve this.

    Lynda, have a few drinks and you’ll try it, you’ll like and look forward to eating it again.

    That hangover soup you ate in Turkey also exists in Greece…we call it Patsa.

    Ben, if you ever get an invite to Greek Easter, jump on it and try all the delights…inclusing kokoretsi.

  21. Bellini Valli says:

    Maybe it’s the copious amounts of Greek oregano or ouzo that make organs taste good. I did have soup (whose name I can’t remember) that was supposed to cure hangovers in Athens…made from offal…it was very good!!!!

  22. Jen of A2eatwrite says:

    Fascinating post! I’ve always wanted to go to Greece, and your blog is just tempting me more and more.

  23. despinarion says:

    Καλα με το αρνι ζηλεψα, με το κοκκορετσι με τσακισες! Ουφ!!!! στειλε κανενα μεζε! φιλια.

  24. Andy says:

    I have never had organ meat, but it looks intriguing. If I am ever back in Greece I will keep an eye out for kokoretsi.

  25. glamah16 says:

    Well I like liver, dontt know about the rest. But I believe you that its good. Just tell me what it is aftewards.

  26. jen says:

    I’m not a massive fan of liver – but I’d try this out since there are so many other things in there and some punchy flavourings. I love the way that it’s all about using every last bit of the animal – nothing goes to waste.

  27. Sam Sotiropoulos says:

    Bravo Peter! I know a few people who normally have difficulties with organ meats, but when it comes to kokoretsi, they make an exception, so you are definitely not alone. Personally, I love organ meats and I am certain I would have enjoyed your kokoretsi! As Laurie already mentioned, the key is to make sure the intestines are cleaned well, after that’s well taken care of and the roasting is done, it’s taste sensation time! Thanks for posting your kokoretsi recipe, perhpas next year we can try each other’s?

  28. We Are Never Full says:

    for the first time commenting on your blog, I have no words…

    speechless.

    i want to come over.

  29. Peter M says:

    Val, I think it’s the sweetbreads, marinade and herbs that make Kokoretsi work.

    Jen, Kokoretsi is still served in Greece.

    Despoinoula, anytime you[re in town…tha se kano trapezi, endaxi?

    Andy, Kokoretsi can still be found in Greece and also in many Greektowns.

    Courtney, we see eye to eye on food, this stuff rocked!

    Jen, I like the magic of this dish, as it turns something seen as revolting into culinary deliciousness!

    Sam, I’m glad my tastebuds make an exception for Kokoretsi…what a celebratory dish and yes…sampling each other’s food is our destiny.

    Never Full…look me up if ever in town. I’ll shut you up with good food! lol

  30. Mochachocolata Rita says:

    i am an omnivore and i eat internal organs without skipping a beat…including brain (oppps i hope i wont creep everyone out) so…bring em all to my table, pleeeezeee ^_^

  31. Helen says:

    This looks delicious Peter! I’ll basically eat anything and offal is one of my favourite foods. Very tasty looking indeed!

  32. Maria V says:

    so true, don’t feed me liver either, just give me kokoretsi!

  33. Núria says:

    He,he, he Chico… remember who eats of what he/she has it grows bigger… what organs did you say you ate?

  34. Pam says:

    Okay, the picture is gorgeous, as usual. But like some others, I’m going to take your word on this.

  35. Cris says:

    Oh my, I can almost feel the smell from here.

  36. Hunter Angler Gardener Cook says:

    Kokoretsi. Nice. Would be a good entry for my blog event Meat & Greet, whose focus is offal this month. But I gotta ask: Where the hell did you find spleens? They are illegal to sell in the U.S. Not so in Canada, I guess…

  37. Janulka says:

    I love kokoretsi! it is worth to wait till its grilled, so crunchy and so nice … you cannot imagine the taste of it till you eat it! Perfectly done!

  38. Sharlene says:

    I unsuccessfully tried making this. I think in the future (though I doubt I will make this ever again), I will use just liver, heart and maybe very minimal amount of sweetbreads. The lungs were really not well received by all.

  39. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    There’s something about grilled organ meats perhaps?

    My brother who’s squeamish about *ALL* offal used to happily scarf down grilled skewers of unknown chicken organ meat sold by street vendors. Might be chicken hearts, chicken gizzards, chicken intestines. . .who knew? Grilled over charcoal, they’re delicious!

  40. […] down a bite of liver, bacon-wrapped chicken livers get stuck in my mouth yet I can eat foie gras, Kokoretsi, Magheritsa, pates and in this […]

  41. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kalofagas Greek Food. Kalofagas Greek Food said: http://bit.ly/accYlT New Blog post…Kokoretsi..a must-have meze for Greek Easter. […]

  42. ειρηνη says:

    I am a greek woman so I love love kokoretsi!

  43. courtney says:

    one day I need to swing an invite to a Greek Easter to sample this.

  44. kat says:

    That is truly a use the whole animal dish. Not sure I’d try making it but I’d certainly like to try it at least once.

  45. Elizabeth says:

    Οπως κάθε χρόνο φτιάξαμε και φέτος ένα στρουμπουλό, πεντανόστιμο κοκορέτσι!
    Το λατρεύουμε και το τσακίζουμε κι ας λένε ότι είναι ανθυγιεινό… μια φορά το χρόνο είναι Πάσχα !!!

  46. Ξανθή says:

    Peter μη μου πεις ότι βρίσκεις υλικά στον Καναδά για κοκορέτσι;;
    Χριστός Ανέστη κι ευχές πολλές από την Ελλάδα!!!

  47. Rosa says:

    OMG, so much meat! Yummy!

    A speciality I’d love to taste!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  48. Foodycat says:

    I have no problem at all with liver, but I am not a fan of kidney! I love the way the intestines around the outside crisp so beautifully.

  49. It certainly does look appetizing. I may very well be easily persuaded.

  50. One of my all time favorite foods. Hard to find in Montreal. Even the lamb intestines are tough to procure, as I think it’s illegal to sell them to the public (not sure). Anyway, as you say, in Greece kokoretsi is widely availbale and I enjoy it whenever I go.

    A funny story…I decided to marry my wife on the basis of her reaction to kokoretsi! She’s a “Xeni” and she had joined me in Greece for vacation after only knowing her a few months. I took her to a kokoretsi place and she was happily eating it when she asked me what it was made of. I told her, “You don’t want to know”. But she insisted and I finally gave her the ingredient list. “Great” she replied, “May I have another piece?”. That was 35 years ago and we’re still together. :-)

  51. People’s reaction to offal always reminds me of the old joke:

    >What’s for dinner?
    >Tongue sandwich.
    >Yuck…I could never eat something that comes out of a cow’s mouth…make me an omelet instead!

  52. I always make an exception for this and “splinandero”. There is something tasty about the way it’s prepared and cooked over a slow flame. And I totally agree…clean intestines are a must!!!

  53. Joan Nova says:

    ooh…this is the one that scares and intrigues me all at the same time.
    Love Steve’s joke!

  54. Ana says:

    Two nice things I have to say about kokoretsi: While it’s being cooked it looks good and it smells good. As for the taste, its an aquired taste and I still haven’t aquired it. Kokoretsi eaters are the bravest of foodies indeed!

  55. Christine says:

    OK, Peter, I’m hooked. I want to have dinner at your house. Doesn’t matter when, as long as you grill! Have I ever told you that my (step) grandfather was Greek? True. :))

  56. grace says:

    i submit that nothing is superior to skewered and rotisseried (is that a word? it should be) meat. the end.

  57. Drew says:

    I had this in Greece a few years back and it was fantastic. Thanks for bringing back some good memories of great food!

    -drew-

  58. kiki says:

    Το απόλυτα ελληνικό φαγητό!

  59. I just did a lamb in the oven for Easter. A Kokoretsi I have not had in years. Looks great.

  60. Stathis D says:

    When I was making “kokoretsi” for the Easter Sunday (Now I’m on diet and I do not) I was always turning the intestine “inside out” for cleaning. Although no E. Coli or similar nasty buggers can survive the coal heat during roasting its better to be on the safe side. Also my ideal kokoretsi should not have a diameter more than 12cm before cooking. This way it will cook to the core (remember it shrinks due to water loss).

  61. […] including sweetbreads, hearts, lungs and/or kidneys. The intestines of suckling lambs are preferred.Via http://www.kalofagas.ca GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  62. Hello, I found your blog through Aglaia Kremezi’s wonderful blog, and so glad for it. Your kokoretsi brings many happy memories of Istanbul to me, where I am from, as it is a delicacy for us too. Many thanks for sharing and Happy Easter,

Leave a Comment