Since opening his first restaurant at the age of 24, chef Michael Psilakis has had one goal in mind: to elevate the Greek cuisine of his ancestors to “its place alongside French and Italian food.” In his new book, How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking (Little, Brown), the New York City chef who has been heralded for creating “new Greek cuisine” shares the approach he pioneered 15 years ago.
In Psilakis’ cooking, “you won’t find a recipe for the old familiar Greek salad,” writes Barbara Kafka in the foreword. The dishes delve deeply into his heritage, with modern twists on the core flavors of lemon, olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs.
Psilakis actually recommends making this slow-cooked dish with a cheaper cut of meat. “You can use brisket, shanks, shoulder—all fairly tough meats” that have enough marbling to flavor the sauce. If there are any leftovers, shred the meat, return it to the sauce, and toss with your favorite pasta.
Recipe of the week
Bodino Stifado Me Praso
(Beef stew with leeks)
For blended oil, add 9 parts canola oil to 1 part olive oil
3 tbsp blended oil
2 lbs beef stew meat cut into 1½-inch chunks
Kosher salt and pepper
½ large onion
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 leek cut into thick rounds, washed and drained
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ cup red wine
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 to 5 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig sage
2 cinnamon sticks
Extra-virgin olive oil
Grated orange zest
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Place a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add oil. Season beef aggressively with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, add beef and sear on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Add chopped vegetables and sauté for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Deglaze pan with wine and vinegar and reduce completely.
Add 3 cups of water, 2 tsp salt, a generous grind of pepper, bay leaves, herbs, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and partially cover pan. Simmer gently for about an hour. If mixture is dry, add cup or two of remaining water. Keep simmering until meat is tender and braising liquid has reduced to a saucy consistency. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon. Transfer to platter, drizzle with a little olive oil, and scatter with a little orange zest and the parsley. Serve with potatoes, rice, or orzo. Serves 4 to 6.
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