My Greek Family Table: Fresh,
Regional Recipes by Maria Benardis is a re-release of
the 2009 original edition.
This book shares the stories of Maria's summers cooking at her
grandmother's elbow on the Greek island of Psara, and places an
emphasis on eating for health and well-being. As Maria says, "This
book is as much about the importance of the family and friends who
share our table as it is about food."
Recipes for Chicken with Herbed Feta Crust, Deep-Fried
Artichokes with Yogurt and Walnut Dip, and Lamb with Avgolemono
(egg and lemon sauce) along with others will tempt you to plan a
Greek feast soon. The recipes also share sidebars detailing the
specific health benefits of each ingredient.
The "Sweets and other Special Things" chapter includes such
recipes as Koulourakia (Greek butter cookies), Loukoumades
(Greek-style doughnuts) and Greek Yogurt Cake with Ouzo and Lemon
Syrup and of course Baklava. I particularly love that a number of
her recipes begin with "My Aunt's....". It is so important to have
family recipes that are shared and passed down. Food made from the
recipes of loved ones helps us to keep those memories close. Maria
has an event planned in New York on the 27th of June, more
information can be found on our calendar.
Special thanks to Countryman Press for sharing the Lamb Filo
Parcels recipe with our members. Be sure to head over
to our contest page to enter our giveaway
for five copies of this title.
Lamb Filo Parcels
I love filo pastry. When I am unsure of what to cook, I toss
together all the ingredients I have in the fridge (in this case,
leftover baked lamb) and wrap them up in filo. A few minutes later
I have a meal made in heaven! These parcels are main-meal size, but
you can make smaller ones in any shape for a meze.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 pound cooked lamb, trimmed and finely diced
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
Sea salt and cracked pepper
1 tomato, finely chopped
3 tablespoons red wine (I use merlot)
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons double cream
3-4 ounces Greek feta, crumbled or grated
8 sheets filo pastry
Heat the olive oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat and
sauté the onion, garlic, carrot, and bay leaves for a couple
of minutes. Add the diced lamb, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook
until lightly browned, stirring the meat to avoid clumping.
Add the tomato and wine, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15
minutes until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the
parsley and cream, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Once
cool, mix in the feta and divide the mixture into four
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly oil a baking tray or line with
Place one sheet of filo flat on a clean work surface and brush
lightly with olive oil. Place a second sheet on top and brush
again. Spoon one portion of the lamb mixture onto one end of the fi
lo and fold the bottom edge of pastry over the filling. Fold in the
two sides and roll up to make a firm, neat parcel. Place on the
baking tray seam-side down and brush with olive oil. Repeat with
the remaining pastry and filling to make four parcels. (Remember to
cover the filo sheets you are not using with a damp tea towel to
keep them from drying out-any leftover pastry should be rewrapped
tightly and refrigerated.)
Sprinkle the parcels with water and bake for 20-25 minutes or
until they turn a deep golden brown.