Last Thursday was Tsiknopempti, which literally translates as stinky Thursday.  Stinky in a good sense, referring to the smell (tsikna) of the smoke coming , from the charred meat, which fills the atmosphere from everywhere on that day, as it is a tradition to grill or fry meet.  Pempti means fifth as it is the fifth day of the week.

Furthermore, Tsiknopempti is  during the carnival period so it’s one more reason for people to celebrate before the 48 days of fasting during Lent.

On this day the municipalities organize outdoor barbecues and grills in central squares while the municipal bands play happy carnival music and people have fun, at least this was the situation until now.

This year the situation  is tragic in Greece, due to the economic crisis.   The same arrangements were made and Varvakeios, the central  market of Athens, in collaboration with the meat vendors and the municipality of Athens, organized outdoor grills by offering almost 1.5 tons of meat (chicken, sausages, pork, lamb etc) as well as 200 kilos of wine and the band was there trying to cheer up people.

All you could see were endless queues of people of all ages waiting patiently with grimmed faces to fill their tummies.  Not only pensioners, who’ve seen their already scant pensions reduced to 300 – 400 Euros a month but also younger unemployed people, who are desperate to find a job and families who cannot cope with one reduced salary and meat is now  a luxury for their survival.

You may see pictures here and here. This is Greek reality today.  The majority of the  Greek people, have been affected by the economic crisis, one way or the other.    We are still among  the fortunate who still have food to eat but don’t let this mislead you because we are also making lots of other sacrifices to cope with less money and increased bills to pay.

 

 

We did not go out as is the tradition but I prepared a few things for a family gathering at home.    I prepared Spetzofai as well as some Pizzas.

Spetzofai or sometimes written spentzofai is a Greek traditional recipe from Pelion, Thessaly.  The traditional recipe is made with local sausages and lots of peppers, cooked in a sauce by adding onions,  tomatoes, wine and just salt and pepper because most of the taste of this dish comes from the spices in the sausages. After making Spetzofai many times, I have made my own twists to the traditional recipe, so today you will find two different recipes, one made almost the traditional way and the second using my homemade spicy sauce, which made the procedure much easier.     In the second recipe I did not have any pickled spicy pepperoncini, so instead I added a pinch of harissa.

 

In my recipe I used some spicy sausages and my Homemade Spicy Tomato Sauce, which I also used both in Spetzofai as well as in the pizza.  Having made the sauce several days earlier, made the procedure much easier for both recipes.

Before going to the recipes, here are a couple more ways I used my spicy sauce. If you want something different for an easy dinner, make Pizza Sandwiches:

Pizza sandwiches :

Fully open one bun per person and place some sauce on both sides.  Add some slices of tomato, on which sprinkle some oregano. Then, put a few slices of lountza or other smoked pork and a few slices on halloumi on top.  Finally, top it with shredded mozzarella. Repeat exactly the same with the remaining buns.  Preheat oven to 180o C and bake until mozzarella melts, about 10 minutes.

Sandwich both pieces and enjoy!

 

 

Papoutsakia Revisited, My Way

Although this recipe deserves a new post, as I made at lot of changes to my original recipe, I have highlighted the main changes here.  I have so many new recipes to post and I don’t seem to have a lot of free time lately and my computer is getting slower and slower which makes things even worse.

 

The first recipe included spicy sausages, three kinds of peppers (bell peppers, pepperoncini and roasted Piperies Florinis), bacon, eggplants and feta.

Spetzofai with Eggplants, Bacon and Feta, recipe by Ivy Preparation time:  30 minutes Cooking time: 50 minutes Serves: 4 – 5 Ingredients:

  • 2 eggplants
  • 1 tsp olive oil on each piece
  • 4 Greek spicy sausages, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 slices bacon (optional)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (divided, including eggplants)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (yellow, red, green), julienned
  • 1 slice roasted piperia Florinis
  • 5 – 6 piperies toursi (pickled peppers), cut into smaller pieces
  • 1/2 cup white dry wine
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled (or 1 tin whole tomatoes) puréed
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 150 grams feta, cut into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Cut each eggplant into four slices and brush each with about a teaspoon of olive oil.  Bake in a preheated oven to 180oC / 350oF, for about half an hour or until the eggplants are soft.
  2. Meantime cut the sausage into slices about 2 cm each and bacon into larger pieces. Peel onions and garlic and finely chop them. Remove seeds from the peppers and julienne them. Blend tomatoes together with tomato paste.  Cut the roasted eggplants into smaller pieces.
  3. In a skillet heat a tbsp olive oil and sauté the sausages and bacon on both sides.  Remove to a platter and heat the remaining oil.  Add the onion and sauté about 5 minutes and then add garlic and sauté 2 – 3 minutes until translucent.
  4. Add the peppers and stir until all ingredients are well mixed.  Add the bacon and sausages as well as wine and mix for 2 – 3 minutes until the alcohol evaporates.   Finally add the tomatoes, mix and cover.
  5. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens.   Add feta and cook for 5 more minutes.
  6. Serve warm with rice or fried potatoes.

Note: Leftover can be eaten the next day cold, as a mezes, or it makes a delicious pizza.  The only ingredient you need to add is some cheese on top.

 

Spetzofai pizza preparation Spetzofai pizza

 

Τhe  second easier recipe except for sausages and peppers, I have added mushrooms, feta and spicy sauce.

Easy Spetzofai with Mushrooms, Bacon and Feta, recipe by Ivy

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Cooking time:  10 minutes

Mezes for:  4

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams button or champignon mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Greek spicy sausages, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 slices bacon (optional)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers (yellow, red, green), julienned
  • 150 grams feta, cut into small pieces
  • A pinch of harissa (or hot boukovo, chili or paprika)
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce

Directions:

  1. In a non-stick frying pan add 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté the mushrooms on both side.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a skillet heat the olive oil and sauté the sausages and bacon on both sides.  Discard any oil and fat from the skillet.
  3. Add the bell peppers and sauté for a few minutes and put the mushrooms in as well.
  4. Add feta, harissa and sauce and mix.
  5. Cook for five minutes and serve hot with lots of crusty bread.

 

 

 

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

 

 

 

 

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Χωρίς σχόλια on Easy Spetzofai (Spicy Mezes with Sausages) and other recipes with My Spicy Sauce

  1. Ο/Η Rosa λέει:

    Oh, what a scrumptious dish! So satisfying.

    Chers,

    Rosa

  2. Ο/Η Eftychia λέει:

    Yummy dish! On Tsiknopempti all we had was meat cooked on charcoal and a lot of zivania :-)!! My mum is looking forward to your new cookbook. Keep working on that, I am sure it will be a huge success.
    Eftychia recently posted..Chicken with Veggies and Sesame Seeds (Giveaway)My Profile

  3. Ο/Η Elpiniki λέει:

    I really love spetsofai! Yours looks just delicious!
    Elpiniki recently posted..Fasolada (Traditional Greek Bean Soup)My Profile

  4. Ο/Η Peter G λέει:

    Amazing selection of ideas here Ivy. I love how you styled the paputsakia…LOL! Very clever!

  5. Ο/Η elly λέει:

    LOVE spetzofai and I need to make it soon. Also, your papoutsakia are the cutest I have ever seen!

  6. Ο/Η Willis λέει:

    I am loving this dish. It looks so very delicious. I love dishes that meat and veggies are combined.

  7. Ο/Η Pierre λέει:

    i feel so bad for greece as I love this country keep on cooking for us such delicous dish of yours !!Pierre
    Pierre recently posted..Une quenelle de fromage blanc-lime sur un biscuit chocolat sur une mousse-marronMy Profile

  8. Ο/Η Nick λέει:

    this foods looks very delicious . thanks for telling the recipe of it

  9. Ο/Η Angie λέει:

    This sure looks very tasty and perfect with some steamed rice!
    Angie recently posted..Rye Bread with Chinese Red Dates and SultanasMy Profile

  10. Ο/Η Ben λέει:

    The situation in Greece is very unfortunate, but it’s good to see that in difficult times communities come together to help each other. The best way to pull through situations like this is with good food and you guys know how to do that! Hugs my friend. Things always get better.
    Ben recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Pasteleria IdealMy Profile

  11. Ο/Η Jean λέει:

    I really like the pizza sandwiches recipe, simple but effective. I had just bought some buns today to prepare hot dogs tomorrow but now I think I will use them to make your pizza sandwiches. I really love oregano on most dishes involving cheese.

    -Jean

  12. Ο/Η Núria λέει:

    Wow, what a selection of fantastic food! I love the shoe eggplant photo… a great idea :D
    Núria recently posted..Winter’s favorite SoupMy Profile

  13. Ο/Η Reeni λέει:

    Both look equally delicious Ivy! I like that you gave us an easier version. I am so sorry about your economic crisis – I did not realize things were so bad.
    Reeni recently posted..Homemade Hostess CupcakesMy Profile

  14. Ο/Η Chris λέει:

    I really feel for the Greek people who are going through such a tough time. I have had a special love for Greek food since my grade school days when we had a feast of traditional Greek food to go along with our ancient Greece reports. I am sure this will make for a great dinner with my family.

  15. Ο/Η Nadji λέει:

    Je suis sincèrement désolée de tout ce qui arrive à la Grèce. La situation doit être désespérante et ce n’est malheureusement toujours pas fini. Espérons que bientôt on vivra tous un léger mieux pour déguster ces merveilleux plats avec plus de joie au coeur.
    A bientôt
    Nadji recently posted..Paupiettes de tartiflette.My Profile

  16. Ο/Η Juliana λέει:

    I don’t recall having Spetzofai when in Greece, and I know I would love it since I love spicy food. Love the variety of dishes that you have here.
    Yes, we have been following the situation in Greece and it is really terrible.
    Hope you are having a nice week Ivy :)

  17. Ο/Η Jill Colonna λέει:

    Thinking of you during such tough times just now, Ivy. All I can say is bring on these spices and vive la cuisine from Greece. We love you!
    Jill Colonna recently posted..Making Chouquettes with Cravings of a LunaticMy Profile

  18. Ο/Η MagicofSpice λέει:

    My oldest loves spicy foods and will go crazy for this :) Beautiful dish and recipe Ivy!

  19. Ο/Η Erica λέει:

    Wonderful flavors!I love spicy food….love this dish,Ivy!
    Erica recently posted..Arepitas Fritas con Guacamole (Fried Mini Arepas with Guacamole)My Profile

  20. Ο/Η cupcake recipes λέει:

    Thanks for the recipe. I will be cooking for my family tonight..

  21. Ο/Η Lee λέει:

    Looks like a fantastic dish, I’ll give it a go and let you know how it turns out :)

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