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It’s All Greek to Me


Recipes and Photographs by Karista Bennett
Mediterranean dishes have been praised as healthful—but they are anything but diet food. These recipes are a lovely taste of Greece and all the aromatic and delightful ingredients that give Mediterranean cooking so much character. Main courses in this menu include a hearty beef stifado, citrus-laced pork souvlaki, and a simple Greek marinated chicken that are all easily prepared on a weeknight. For a side, try basmati rice, spices, herbs, and feta stuffed into garden-fresh tomatoes and roasted to flavorful perfection. Traditional hummus is given an elegant twist with the addition of roasted cherry tomatoes and olive tapenade. And these savory dishes are complemented by a sweet sponge cake that will have everyone licking their fingers, and maybe their plates. Opa!

hummus with roasted tomatoes and olive tapenade
Serves 6

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup tahini paste
2 cloves garlic, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ to ½ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 (15-ounce) can green olives, drained
2 anchovies
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
Pita or tortilla chips, for serving

For the hummus, add the chickpeas, tahini paste, 1 garlic clove, lemon juice, olive oil, and white wine vinegar to the bowl of a food processor. Process just until ingredients are combined, then add ¼ cup water and more if needed. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the cherry tomatoes in 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are wilted and wrinkled. Remove them from the oven and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.


For the olive tapenade, add the green olives, anchovies, 1 garlic clove, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, and fresh parsley to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are nicely combined but still a little chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the roasted tomatoes and olive tapenade on the hummus and then drizzle with extra olive oil. Serve with pita or tortilla chips.

pork souvlaki with tzatziki
Serves 4

Zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1½ pounds pork tenderloin cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons fresh mint
1 small cucumber, peeled and grated
8 ounces Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
Pita bread

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and white wine vinegar. Add the pork tenderloin to the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Just before grilling, make the tzatziki sauce. Mix together the fresh mint, cucumber, Greek yogurt, garlic, and olive oil. Refrigerate until needed.

Preheat the grill to 400 degrees F.


Thread the pork and onion pieces onto skewers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush the grill grates with oil and then grill the pork and onion skewers for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning the skewers as needed for even cooking.

Serve the warm pork souvlaki with tzatziki sauce and pita bread.

beef stifado
Serves 6

1 cup red wine
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
8 black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
2½ pounds beef rump roast or chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons oil
1½ pounds pearl or Cipollini onions, peeled (or use thawed, frozen pearl onions)
1 medium carrot, small diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with juice
Beef broth (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cornstarch slurry, to thicken
Egg noodles, orzo, or mashed potatoes, for serving

Mix together the red wine, vinegar, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, and whole cloves. Add the beef cubes to the liquid and marinate overnight or for at least 6 hours.

When ready to cook, strain the beef, reserving the marinade. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, brown the beef cubes. You’ll need to do this in 2 or 3 batches so that the meat browns evenly. If you add too much meat at once, it won’t brown.

Once the beef cubes have been browned, transfer to a platter. Turn the heat down to medium and add the pearl onions to the pan and cook them until they have softened but not browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Then add in the carrots, garlic, oregano, and parsley. Cook for a few minutes and then add the remaining marinade with spices, crushed tomatoes with juice, and the browned beef. Add additional beef broth if needed, just enough to just cover the stew.


Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Simmer the stew for about 1½ to 2 hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce is thin and you’d like it thicker, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water. This is called a slurry. Add this mixture to the stew while the liquid is at a boiling temperature. Let it boil for about 1 minute our until the liquid has thickened.

Take the stew off the heat and let it cool. Taste for seasoning before serving. Serve with egg noodles, orzo, or mashed potatoes.