When I got married I already knew how to prepare lots of dishes most of them complicated and difficult. I liked cooking since I was very young and, therefore, every Sunday when I had some free time I would cook for the family. I had never tried to cook the easy, everyday recipes because Ι was working and my mother used to cook for us. When I got married, although I knew how to make pastitsio, canellonia, ravioles, etc., I didn’t know how to fry potatoes, boil pasta or other simple recipes, like stews and dried legumes.
Just after we got married we left Cyprus and came to live in Greece. My husband was an officer in the Greek army, so we were transferred to a small village in Northern Greece, called Rodopolis, Serron, a place far away from his family. I practically had no one to turn to when I needed help (neither did we have the internet then to look for recipes) and overseas or long distance phone calls cost a lot. I did, however, have a cooking book and gradually I learned some new things about cooking but I am sure no recipe book will ever tell you how to fry potatoes or other easy things. I learned the hard way and it took some time to learn everything. This is what I have in mind whenever I give a recipe. I have in mind that there are some other people who do not know the obvious things.
Eventually I made some new friends and we would swap recipes. This is how I learned some new Greek recipes which we did not cook in Cyprus. One summer when we went back home on holidays I cooked for my family some of the new recipes I had learned and one of them was Fricassee. My mother liked it very much and I told her how to make it. Of course, she never wrote the recipe down and as she was growing old she couldn’t remember the whole recipe when she decided to make it.
A few years later, when we visited Cyprus again, my mother made fricassee for us but it was somehow different. She forgot the recipe and added tomato to it. It wasn’t bad but we laughed with her.
Years later I found out that at some parts of Lakonia (where my in-laws live) they do add tomato to their fricassee, as well as to the traditional Easter dish called “Magiritsa”. Well I suppose someone else may have forgotten, as my mother did.
This delicious recipe of pork fricassee is made with lots of lettuce, aromatic herbs and the traditional Greek avgolemono sauce (which means egg and lemon sauce).
The flavour of the meat cooked with the lettuce and then the egg and lemon “avgolemono” sauce added at the end is simply fantastic.
I don’t know the origin of this recipe but I assume this was originally a French recipe as fricassee is a French word. Nicolas Tselementes, who was a famous Greek chef, who studied in Vienna and worked abroad for many years, introduced French cuisine to the Greeks, at the beginning of the previous century. However, I checked his cookbook and his Lamb fricassee has no lettuce and is totally different than the way fricassee is made now.
Chirino Fricassee (Pork in Avgolemono Sauce)
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Serves: 5 – 6
- 1kg boneless pork from the neck
- 6 spring onions, including green part, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 – 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 3 very big lettuces, romaine type
- 1/2 cup dill, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp corn flour (starch)
- Cut the meat into medium portions, wash and strain.
- Wash and cut lettuces in 1 inch pieces, which boil for 5 minutes and then strain.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté meat on both sides.
- Add the onions and celery and sauté them until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add salt and pepper and water to cover the meat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the meat is tender. While cooking the meat test to make sure it is tender, if not add more water until meat is cooked.
- Add the strained lettuces as well as the dill and parsley and cook for another 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
- See how to make Avgolemono here. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the lemon juice. While beating, add the corn flour and mix until it dissolves. Take a ladle of stock from your pot and slowly add it to your egg and lemon mixture while whisking.
- Add avgolemono into your saucepan and mix.
Leave it to rest for 15 minutes and then serve.
P.S. This recipe can also be made with lamb or chicken.