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Cypriot braised Pork with Pilaf

02 January 2014 / 11:01:24  GRReporter
3700 reads

Danielle Lachana


Having left Greece, our first destination of 2014 is the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

This popular Cypriot dish, called 'Afelia' has, as its star ingredient, pork which is very plentiful and well-loved on the island. The meat used is generally cubed, boneless lean shoulder of pork but it can also be short ribs.  The unique flavour of Afelia comes from long marination in red wine with crushed Coriander seeds which produces a slightly sweet and sour taste (the coriander has a light citrus flavour). Other flavourings, except for salt and pepper, are generally not added with the exception of cinnamon sticks. Traditionally, this dish is cooked in a 'tava' (an earthenware dish) in a clay oven.

Afelia is usually served with pourgouri* (cracked wheat) pilafi  - see recipe below - but is also good with rice or potatoes.


(Serves 4 - 6)




For the meat

Marinate the meat in the wine together with the coriander, cinnamon, salt and pepper preferably overnight, or for a minimum of 6 hours.

Remove the meat from the marinade, discard the cinnamon, and pat the meat dry with kitchen paper/towels. Reserve the marinade for later use.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the meat in small batches, turning, until crisp and brown all over.

Transfer the meat to a deep saucepan and pour over the marinade adding enough cold water to cover. Cover the pan with a lid and cook gently for about 60 minutes, or until the meat is tender. If necessary add a little more water and/or red wine to keep moist.

When the meat is ready, the liquid should have reduced to a thick sauce - if not continue to cook, uncovered, for another 10 minutes or until the desired consistency.

Serve with pourgouri  pilafi  - cracked wheat pilaf


For the Pilafi

 Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan and sauté the onion and tomato for a couple of minutes until the onion softens, but do not allow to brown.

Stir in the broken vermicelli and continue frying the pasta for a few minutes until it starts to absorb the oil.

Add the stock and salt and pepper to taste. Rinse the pourgouri in running cold water then add to the pan - if the vermicelli has not started to soften, leave it to boil in the stock for a few minutes before adding the pourgouri.

Cover and simmer gently for 8 - 10 minutes or until all the stock is absorbed.

Leave to rest for five minutes and fluff up with a fork just before serving.

Serve with the meat and sauce on top.


* Pourgouri is the Cypriot word for cracked wheat, also known elsewhere as 'bulgur', 'burghul' and 'pligouri'

Tags: Pork Afelia pourgouri Cyprus recipes Mediterranean bulgur cracked wheat
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