Gkioulpassi is a dish which comes from Asia Minor. It is usually made with lamb but it is also often made with lamb, pork and veal. Slits are made in the meat and spices, garlic and cheese are added in the meat. It is wrapped in greaseproof paper with vegetables and spices and slowly cooked for three to four hours in a “gastra”, which is an earthenware or fired clay deep pot with a lid. However, if you don’t have this pot you can still wrap it well in greaseproof paper and cook it on low heat for a few hours. The fat from the lamb melts away and flavours the other meat as well, keeping the meat succulent, tender and juicy.
I first tried this recipe last summer when my friend Vivi Hadjinicolaou cooked it for us in Assini. As she explained to me this is a traditional recipe which her in-laws brought with them to Assini when they became refugees after the persecution of the Greeks from Asia Minor. My friend cooks it in a wood fired oven which makes the meat even more delicious but unfortunately I’ll have to cook it in my old oven here in Athens. I haven’t cooked this recipe yet but I am confident that it is going to be perfect. The above pictures were taken in a haste on my mobile phone. I will update the post and add the pictures after I cook this dish on New Year’s Day.
As promised I am updating the recipe. I added more peppers and carrots which were not included. I also added coarse sea salt, cumin and paprika. After two and a half hours, I opened the greaseproof papers to take a look inside but it still needed cooking. I carfully covered it again with the paper and cooked it for half an hour more. This time I removed the papers. I added another tray with hasselback potatoes on top and cooked it for 40 more minutes, raising the temperature to 180 degrees C.
The final result was delicious, especially the lamb. I strongly recommend it but next time I will be making it, I will make it only with lamb.
Gkioulpassi, a traditional recipe from Asia Minor
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours and 40 minutes
Serves: 6 – 8
- 1 kilo lamb from the shoulder
- 650 grams pork from the shoulder
- 500 grams veal from the shoulder
- 250 grams kefalotyri cheese, cubed (I added kefalograviera Amphilochias)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 ripe tomatoes, cut in slices
- 2 green peppers, deseeded and cut in slices (I added 4)
- 4 red sweet peppers (Florina type), deseeded and cut in slices (Iadded 6)
- 4 – 5 cloves garlic
- Salt and freshly grated black pepper (1 added 2 tbsp coarse sea salt and lots of grated pepper)
- Cumin (0ptional)
- Paprika (optional)
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 allspice berries
Make slits in the meat and add pieces of garlic, salt and pepper in the meat.
Make more slits and put small cubes of cheese in the meat. (I combined all the spices in a bowl and in the end there was about 1 tbsp leftover).
Rub it with more salt and pepper as well as oregano and olive oil.
Add the vegetables as well as the remaining cheese, spices and wrap well, two or three times, so that steam will not escape.
Tie the parcel with kitchen string and add some moisture to the greaseproof papers by wetting it with water. (I wrapped it in three sheets of greaseproof paper and a final wrap in aluminum foil).
Preheat oven to 180o C (350o F). Put the parcel in the oven, (after 15 minutes) lower the temperature to 165o C (330o F) and cook for three (to three and a half) hours.
Serve with baked potatoes.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,