Continuing my exploration of Greek food, I came across a thing called Kokkinsto. As ever, when you go looking for recipes there is a wide range of versions of it, but all contain red wine and tomatoes. A Kokkinisto is simply a meat stew with a red sauce, but for all its simplicity, it is very delicious. My favourite kind of food… simple and delicious!
My nephew was visiting from London so I made this with him in mind. Being sixteen years old he hoovers up food in that way that teenagers do. My own mother used to refer to myself and my brothers as locusts, in that we were capable of devouring every scrap of food in the kitchen in a matter of hours.
I used pork belly as it is cheap and the fat gives it a delicious flavour, you could go for a leaner cut of pork or indeed use beef, chicken or lamb.
This should serve 3 or 4, but I have a healthy appetite and my nephew… well, he’s 16, so we scoffed the lot between us!
- 500 g pork belly
- 2 tablespoons of oil for the frying
- 1 large onion or a couple of smaller ones
- A large clove of garlic
- 200 ml red wine
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes or the equivalent amount of fresh
- A tablespoon of tomato puree
- Herbs of your choice I used a sprig of fresh rosemary and a bay leaf as that’s what grows in my garden. Dried is fine
- I find a teaspoon of paprika adds to the depth of flavour and helps with the reddening. I also added a small grinding of nutmeg
- A teaspoon of sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Carbs to your own preference
Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces and sear them in a hot pan, try to start the cooking skin side down to melt the fat a little, a large saute pan is useful but a big saucepan is fine. When you have coloured the meat on all sides turn the heat down and add the chopped onions and soften them up for a few minutes, then add the garlic and give it a stir.
Now for the reddening. Add the wine and bring the pan up to a strong simmer, add the tomatoes, puree, herbs, sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat back down to a low simmer and cover the pan. Have a look every 5 minutes or so to see how the sauce is reducing and give it a stir to stop it sticking. In the meantime get your carbs ready. I used simple boiled white rice but you can use pasta or spuds or noodles or whatever you like.
You can eat this after 20 minutes or so of simmering but it really benefits from being left to slowly simmer for an hour or more. Add some hot water if the sauce is getting too thick for your liking.
When your patience runs out and your stomach demands attention, serve it up with your carbs of choice. You could and should serve a green vegetable or salad on the side, but I didn’t bother. A scattering of finely chopped spring onions on top did the trick for us.
Satisfied and with full bellies, myself and the nephew settled down to watch Bladerunner.
Not a bad way to spend the evening!