Christos Sourligas is an award-winning filmmaker, actor, writer, director and producer from Canada — who admits that he is not a “famous cook nor a celebrity chef.”
But when doctors recently told him that beloved his mother Evdokia had only 12-18 months to live, he took it upon himself to release a cookbook documenting her culinary masterpieces.
Sourligas told The Pappas Post that “My Big Fat Greek Cookbook” was therefore “born out of necessity,” as he put his mind into “overdrive” to compile his mother’s prized recipes into a thoughtfully arranged, styled and photographed cookbook.
While he could not reveal all of the recipes, the Canadian native generously provided the Post with the recipe for his favorite meat dish — giouvetsi, or Greek beef stew with orzo.
“Giouvetsi epitomizes the simplicity of Greek peasant cuisine. Made up of just a few ingredients with a slow cooking and baking time, it’s hands-down my favorite Greek meat dish,” Sourligas says.
“Nothing beats giouvetsi on a cold winter night,” he adds. “It’s hearty, nourishing, soul-feeding, and I can’t have just one serving. I LOVE coating it with a massive amount of shredded cheese, as if a snowy, wintry blast just hit a bowl of meat… Yum!”
“My Big Fat Greek Cookbook” includes 65 authentic recipes, photographs, traditional meals, memories and tidbits of information that draw family and friends to Greek tables time and again.
The book has received widespread praise from various personalities within the food industry and beyond.
“Christos has captured the essence of Greek home cooking through this collection of his mother’s recipes,” fellow Canadian author Peter Minaki said. [This is] an easy-to-read cookbook, emphasizing the simplistic beauty of Greek cuisine.”
Read the ingredients and follow the instructions for his mother’s giouvetsi recipe below.
Prep: 10 min | Cook and bake: 2 h 20 min | Ready in: 2 h 30 min | Serves: 6
For the meat:
- 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg) front shank veal (or chicken or lamb)
- Salt (pinch)
- White vinegar (sprinkle)
- 2 medium onions
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup tomato juice
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the pasta:
- 2 cups kritharaki (orzo pasta) or hilopites or spaghetti
- 1/2 cup tomato juice
- Romano cheese
1. Cut the veal into 2-inch cubes; do not debone. In a large stockpot, pour in sufficient water to cover themeat. Toss in 2-3 dashes of salt, and drizzle in a touch of vinegar. Boil for 10 minutes. Skim the froth with a slotted spoon, then remove the meat and place into a bowl. Rinse out the pot.
2. Pour the olive and vegetable oils into the stockpot. Chop the onions into 1/2-inch cubes, toss in, and sauté over medium-high heat. Add in the veal cubes, and cover the meat with hot water from a boiling kettle. Partially cover the pot, and stir. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower to medium-high heat. Feed the pot with boiling water, if needed. Continue cooking for 45 minutes, then mix in the tomato juice, salt andpepper. Stir, partially covering the pot, and cook for another 10 minutes. Set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 395°F (200 °C).
4. Add the kritharaki into a large baking dish (ideally, a round clay baking dish) spreading the pasta around with your fingers. Mix in 4 cups of hot water from a boiling kettle, and bake. Stir occasionally, making sure the kritharaki doesn’t stick to the dish, while allowing the pasta and water to reach a boil (about 15 minutes). Then, mix in the tomato juice, and combine the veal and its broth. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the giouvetsi stand in the oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until the pasta thickens.
5. Remove from oven. Let cool, then top with grated Romano cheese. Serve with bread and red wine
Photos credit / Alison Slattery
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