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Authentic And Traditional Greek Food Recipes

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This winter speciality is a familiar dish in the Aegean islands, particularly in Crete. In the villages of Mesara it is traditionally offered to family and close friends on the night before a wedding. This version comes from the island of Chios. All you need to serve with this lovely dish is fresh bread and a bowl of black olives.

  1. Drain the chickpeas, rinse them under cold water and drain them again. Place them in a large, heavy pan. Pour in enough cold water to cover generously, put a lid on the pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Skim the surface, replace the lid and cook gently for 1-1 %2 hours, depending on the age and pedigree of the chickpeas. Alternatively, cook them in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes under full pressure. When the chickpeas are soft, drain them, reserving the cooking liquid, and set them aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in the clean pan and brown the meat cubes in batches. As each cube browns, lift it out with a slotted spoon and put it on a plate. When all the meat cubes have been browned, add the onion to the oil remaining in the pan and saute the slices until light golden. Stir in the garlic, then as soon as it becomes aromatic, add the tomatoes and orange rind.
  4. Crumble in the chilli. Return the chickpeas and meat to the pan, and pour in enough of the reserved cooking liquid to cover. Add the black pepper, but not salt at this stage.
  5. Mix well, cover the pan and simmer for about 1 hour, until the meat is tender. Stir occasionally and add more of the reserved liquid if needed. The result should be a moist casserole; not soupy, but not dry either. Season with salt before serving.
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