Under the mysterious name Spetzofai is a very tasty one-pot dish, in which the main role is played by pepper and sausage. Although it is not characteristic of Crete, it was just last year in Chania that I got spetzofai to start the feast. And I honestly say that after eating it, I did not want anything else.
This dish comes from the mythical land of centaurs, meaning the mountainous peninsula Pelion (Pilion), from where Jason and the Argonauts set out to look for the golden fleece. The natives to prepare spetzofai use a special local sausage, which you probably will not buy anywhere except this part of Greece. However, this slight obstacle should not discourage anyone from preparing this dish, because as part of the replacement you can use very good Polish rural sausage. On the other hand, sausages and other soft sausages are not suitable.
Spetzofai is preparing quite quickly, it can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator through which it will gain in taste. They are served hot with good bread.
1. Cut the onion into the feathers, clean the peppers from the nests and cut into larger square pieces, 2-3 cm in size, while the sausage is slightly thicker.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the sausage on it until it becomes crispy, then remove it from the pan and put it aside. Excess fat can optionally be filtered on a paper towel.
3. On the same oil, on which we fried the sausage, we start to fry onions with peppers. As vegetables slightly soften, we add garlic, previously fried sausage and mixed tomatoes and half a cup of hot water. If you use fresh tomatoes, remove them from the skin and finely chop or grate the skin by discarding it.
4. Season the dish with a solid portion of oregano, a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Although originally there is no laurel leaf added, I nevertheless add 1-2 leaves because I like its taste. Stew on a medium heat for about 20-25 minutes until the excess water evaporates. We serve with good bread.
When in Greece, however, it is worth abandoning your personal prejudices about food and be surprised by the different cuisine and combinations of flavors. A good example of such an unusual dish that may appear on our plate in Crete is Μοσχάρι Κοκκινιστό (moshari kokkinisto), i.e. beef stewed in tomato sauce with a hint of cinnamon.
Papoutsakia is a traditional Greek dish made of eggplants, minced meat and béchamel sauce. The taste is very similar to moussaka, which is not surprising, because the list of ingredients of both dishes is almost identical.
To prepare this dish, we can use keftedes meat patties prepared the day before or also to make them up to date. This simple variety of herb-flavored chops in aromatic sauce is very tasty, so I strongly encourage you to try them. They taste great with ordinary bread, rice or orzo type pasta. Keftedes in tomato sauce can withstand reheating very well, so you can prepare more.