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Traditional Greek Recipe From Crete: Pork In Yoghurt Gravy With Rosemary
Mediterranean cooking is considered largely beneficial for health - and Crete, this paradise island situated in Southern Greece is well known for some fabulous traditional dishes.
This recipe was passed on to me by my mother, who in turn had got this from her mother; seems they had been cooking this often in the past. Searching in my old, half-torn recipe notepad for ideas on what to cook yesterday, I came across this simple to make, yet extremely tasty and fulfilling dish. It didn't take me long to get the ingredients since (except pork) they are always standard part of our nutrition and materials like yogurt and herbs such as rosemary are always present in a Greek kitchen and fridge.
In this traditional dish, golden brown chunks of pork are dipped in thick, flavored yogurt sauce with a strong flavor due to rosemary. You can opt to serve this with various pasta, rice or French fries, if you don't mind the calories.
- 1 kg pork meat, cut in chunks
- 1 cup olive oil, or other oil suitable for sauteing the pork
- 400 ml Greek yogurt, preferably full fat
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/3 cup dried or fresh rosemary
- salt, pepper
- Cut pork in chunks, depending on your taste. Pieces the size of a matchbox are ideal.
- Add the olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the pork in medium to high heat from all sides until golden brown. Try not to stir it too much, but be careful not to fry it too much.
- Add wine and stir the pork around, turning it from all sides. At the same time, use your stirrer to scrape the bottom of the saucepan from pork that has got stuck.
- When the wine has vaporised, add enough water to cover the pork and let simmer in medium heat for about an hour, or until done.
- By now, the pork is standing in a thick sauce which has golden brown color. Add the rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, mix them and set the saucepan aside to cool a bit.
- Remove the pork. Mix the yogurt with the sauce, stirring much until the mixture is even and homogeneous.
- Place the meat in the yogurt gravy and stir the saucepan until it is covered by it.
- The meat is now ready to serve. At this moment you can choose to prepare your pasta, rice or French fries that will accompany the gravy.
This dish is somehow similar to versions which use full cream, but has way less calories, better taste and higher nutritional value, due to the presence of an excellent material, Greek yogurt.
Yogurt is commonly used in cooking in Greece, but it does need some attention, because it should not be exposed to high temperatures for long, else it will dissolve and lose its thickness.
To avoid this, we have to wait until the sauce is lukewarm, before we mix it with yogurt.
As you understand, when cooking a traditional Cretan recipe, you need to use olive oil - however, if you do not have access to it or you do not want to buy, you can substitute with other oils or fats which are suitable for sauteing, including butter or margarine, if so you wish.
Fresh rosemary works better with this dish, because it adds stronger flavor and taste on the gravy and fully matches the pork taste. Alternatively, you can use dried rosemary. A good substitute for rosemary, if you have none at hands, is thyme.
If you try this recipe, please feel free to inform me (using the comments box) on your experience. I am sure you will love it!