The winter time in Greece is all about gathering with friends at someone’s home or at a taverna. Bonus points if the taverna has a fireplace…maybe in the center of the room or tucked in one corner. You’re really lucky if you get a table near the fireplace!
My of my favourite wintertime Greek dishes are tiganies (plural for tigania). Tigania comes from the word tigani, a skillet that is used to brown and simmer the meat until fork tender. The usual meat for tigania is pork but I’ve seen variations with chicken, beef, lamb and even versions with mixed meats.
Once again I am using versatile boneless pork butt to make this tigania this version I tasted in my mom’s village of Agios Panteleimon (Florina). The meat was fork-tender, barely any need for a fork and there were some mushrooms in the mix with a delicious sauce ideal for dunking good crusty bread in.
To round out this meze I made a katsamaki or, a cornmeal mash if you will. Most people are familiar with Polenta from northern italy, us northern Greeks have Katsamaki. For introduced this regional dish back in October where I paired stuffed peppers on a bed of Katsamaki. Homemade stock and fresh grated cheese elevates the dish and I’m getting hungry once again thinking about swiping some Katsamaki on some bread then placing a forkful of pork tigania and washing it down with some bold Xinomavro wine.
Pork & Mushroom Tigania With Katsamaki
(meze for 4)
1 kg. of pork butt, trimmed of excess fat and cut into fork-sized cubes
2 cups of cremini mushrooms, halved.
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. AP flour
1 355 ml can of lager beer
equal amount of hot water or vegetable/chicken stock
5-6 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 small sprig of rosemary leaves
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
heavy cream to taste
fresh thyme leaves for garnish
2 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup corn meal
grated Kefalotyri cheese (sharp Greek sheep’s milk cheese)
fresh ground pepper
- Season pork with salt and pepper and place in medium-high heated heavy skillet and lightly brown on all sides. Remove the met then add onions, garlic and sweat for 5 minutes before stirring. Add meat back in, mushrooms, flour and stir for a minute.
- Add beer, stock, bay, thyme, rosemary and bring up to a boil then cover and reduce to simmer and cook for another 35 minutes. Once thick, add lemon juice and stir in, then cream (optional) and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper
- For katsamaki, pour your stock into medium sized pot and heat to the point of almost boiling. Now add a steady stream of cornmeal while whisking. Continue to stir with the whisk to remove any lumps and until you’ve reached a consistency of porridge.
- Take off the heat and add grated cheese to taste and fresh ground pepper. Spread a ladle on plate and top with pork and mushroom tigania. Serve with good crusty bread and pair with a Vaeni Naoussa Xinomavro Grand Reserve.
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