Combining the succulent flavours of braised pork, celery, and the beloved Greek Avgolemono.
4 tbsp. unsalted butter 1/4 cup olive oil
3-1/2 lbs. pork (shoulder is a good choice but not necessary) roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 leeks, diced (include 2 inches of green)
2 medium red onions, diced
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock or broth
8 – 10 large stalks celery (with leaves) cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill Juice of two lemons (strained)
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
Salt and pepper to taste
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“Greek food holds a rather special place in my heart after spending two to three months there every summer for the majority of my youth. Mention Greek cuisine and I immediately think comfort food.”
Greek food holds a rather special place in my heart after spending two to three months there every sum- mer for the majority of my youth. Mention Greek cuisine and I immediately think comfort food.
It boasts an abundance of hearty dishes which would be perfect during the cold and dark days of winter. Be it a rich Mousaka with its delicious layers of potato and aubergine, or a rustic Kleftico, slow cooked lamb and potato.
I wanted to try something new, so set out to ask a number of close Greek friends what their favourite winter dish was? Of course the obvious came up, Baklava, a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with honey often served over the Christmas and New Year period. A delightful dish which defi- nitely deserves a mention. But what I was looking for was a savoury dish.
A dish which I had never before tried, but which kept being mentioned ,was Xoirino me Seleri – Lemon Pork with Celery – so I had to give it a go. Let me tell you, it is well worth the try. It is a dish which from the outset might not look like much, but tastes phenomenal.
Xoirino me Seleri combines the succulent flavours of braised pork, celery, and the beloved Greek Avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce. It is a simple one- dish meal that saves you from too much washing up.
Also, make sure to stock up on some crusty bread as an accompaniment, to dip in the flavoursome juices.
If you are one of those lucky people to own a Dutch Oven, now is the time to get it out. Alternatively, a slow cooker or large heavy bottomed pot with a lid will do.
Firstly, heat the butter and olive oil together over medium high heat. Season the pork chunks with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then sauté until nicely browned on both sides.
Remove the pork and set to one side, keeping it warm. Now add the leek and onion to the same pot and juices, and sauté until nicely tender, this takes about 5 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons of flour to the pot, stirring constantly until smooth (this can take 3 to 5 minutes) then cook for about a minute longer. Add the celery and the chicken stock and allow the liquid to come to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes. Add the pork (with any extra juices) and the dill to the pot and continue to simmer with the lid on for approximately 45 min- utes, stirring occasionally.
Prepare the Avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce:
Although the basic Greek Avgolemono recipe is rela- tively simple, it can be a little tricky. To help avoid it
curdling and getting lumpy, make sure to use eggs at room temperature.
Using a whisk, beat the eggs in a large bowl until frothy , then slowly whisk in the lemon juice. This is the tricky part, when you need to be careful to avoid having your eggs curdle. Slowly ladle some of the broth from the stew into the mixture while whisking to temper the eggs. Keep stirring the liquid quickly while continuing to add enough stock to make a soup like consistency.
Turn off the cooker and remove the meat from the heat. Slowly add the Avegolemono mixture into the stew and stir well with a wooden spoon.
Continue to stir over a low heat for a few minutes until the sauce begins to thicken, be very careful not to let it overheat or the egg will boil. If your meat is very hot, it is not necessary to return it to the heat for thickening.
Re-season the dish with salt and freshly ground black pepper and shake the pot to make sure it
distributes evenly. Allow the flavours to blend a little before serving.
If you cooked it in a Dutch Oven, serve it up in the same dish for a traditional feel and set out a board full of warm crusty bread for dipping.