12 Traditional Greek Meat Dishes

12 Traditional Greek Meat Dishes

Greek cuisine features a variety of meat-based dishes made with different types of meat such as lamb, pork, beef, chicken, and sometimes goat. These meats are used in a range of preparations, from grilling and roasting to stewing and braising, creating a diverse selection of flavourful and hearty dishes.

Traditional Greek meat dishes are highly regarded for their combination of fresh, quality ingredients, flavourful seasonings, diverse cooking techniques, cultural significance, and the overall rich and inviting experience they offer. These dishes are not only appreciated for their taste, but also the warm hospitality that accompanies them.

1. Moussaka 

Starting with none other than moussaka, a beloved and iconic dish in Greek cuisine. It's often associated with family gatherings, celebrations and special occasions.

Some of the factors that contribute to its appeal are the layers of flavours that create a harmonious and complex taste, the addition of fragrant spices and the creamy béchamel that forms a slightly crispy crust when baked.

It can be somewhat time-consuming to prepare due to the various steps involved, but it's definitely worth the effort. The end result is a rich, flavourful and comforting dish that is incredibly satisfying. 

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2. Soutzoukakia (Meatballs)

Soutzoukakia is a popular dish in Greece, it's made from ground meat and served in a rich tomato sauce. The slightly tangy element of this luscious sauce complements the tender meatballs and creates a mouthwatering dish. 

Soutzoukakia can be served in various ways. They are commonly served with rice, pasta, or bread. The versatility of the dish allows it to be adapted to different preferences.

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3. Giouvarlakia (Meatball Soup)

A delicious and comforting Greek soup that combines several appealing elements, making it a popular and satisfying choice. 

Avgolemono is used as a base for this soup, and is derived from the Greek words "avgo" (egg) and "lemono" (lemon). It's known for its creamy and tangy flavour, which creates a delightful balance of richness and acidity. Combined with the savoury, well-seasoned meatballs makes it appealing to a wide range of tastes. 

The only variation I would personally make to this particular recipe, is too add a few coarsely chopped carrots to the pot and bring to a boil, before adding the meatballs. It adds a wonderful sweetness. 

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4. Roasted Goat (or Lamb) with Potatoes

This is one of my favourite meals, I absolutely love how simple yet incredibly delicious this recipe is.

Typically this dish is prepared on special celebratory occasions, and therefore holds extra sentimental value to me. A testament to the power of food in preserving traditions and creating lasting memories.

The only variation I would make to this particular recipe is to add half a cup of fresh lemon juice to the marinade. It adds a brightness to the dish and adds a refreshing contrast as the tanginess cuts through the gaminess of the meat.

I always tend to choose goat over lamb, as it is generally more lean and flavourful (in my opinion). My choice of olive oil for this recipe is Phileos Extra Virgin Olive Oil, its grassy notes compliment this dish beautifully!

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5. Pastitsio

Another classic Greek recipe, known for its rich and flavourful layers of pasta, seasoned ground meat and creamy béchamel sauce . Baked to golden perfection, this dish is a culinary delight that is irresistible to many. 

Like many larger baked dishes, pastitsio is a convenient and delicious option for leftovers, making the effort put into preparing it even more rewarding.

In this particular recipe, feta cheese is added to the pasta, although personally I prefer to use either Greek kefalotyri cheese or parmesan. Of course it's down to personal preference and what you desire for your dish. 

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6. Baked Beef Patties with Potatoes (Biftekia) 

The combination of ingredients and cooking techniques, results in a beef patty that retains its moisture and is so incredibly juicy and succulent. 

This recipe is typically cooked in a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil which contributes to the desirable qualities of this dish. The extra virgin olive oil infuses the patties with moisture and a richness that is delectable. 

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7. Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmades)

Dolmades offer a balance of savoury and tangy elements making them a delectable small bite. There are numerous ways to enjoy this delicacy, most commonly they are served as a side dish or as part of a mezze assortment. 

They can be prepared with or without meat, depending on personal preferences and dietary choices. Both versions are delicious, and the choice often comes down to individual taste. With this particular recipe minced beef is added to the filling, which adds a savoury component. 

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8. Roast Chicken and Potatoes

The use of lemons in Greek cuisine enhances the taste of dishes and adds a refreshing and aromatic quality. It's a key ingredient that contributes to the overall appeal of Greek culinary traditions.

In this particular recipe, not only does the lemon juice add a burst of citrusy goodness but it also helps keep the chicken and potatoes moist and tender during the roasting process.

Lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil are indeed a winning combination in cooking. Together they strike a balance between brightness and depth. Another recipe that features few ingredients, yet is so fragrant and flavourful. 

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9. Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

One of the most well-known and beloved Greek soups. Traditionally the chicken broth is prepared from scratch which creates a superior flavour that is so appealing, as is the case with this particular recipe.

However, you can shortcut the process by using store-bought stock and pre-cooked chicken. Both approaches can yield a delicious and fragrant chicken soup, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and culinary style.

Similarly to Giouvarlakia, this classic chicken soup recipe also uses avgolemono as its base. Its creamy texture and soothing flavours make it a go-to choice for warmth and comfort. A cherished and staple recipe in my household growing up.

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10. Chicken Orzo (Giouvetsi)

Giouvetsi is appreciated for its balance of flavours, textures, and its warm and comforting qualities, making it a favourite in Greek cuisine and beyond. A one-pot approach that simplifies the cooking process. 

Once served I love to top it with a generous amount of grated cheese, such as kefalotyri or parmesan, which adds a creamy and indulgent element. Also as a finishing touch I like to add a drizzle of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to provide a final burst of flavour and a glossy finish.  

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11. Pork Souvlaki

Pork souvlaki reminds me of family barbecues, usually served in a warm pita bread, with homemade tzatziki, freshly sliced tomatoes and pickled red onions. Accompanied by a large side salad, turns the meal into a well-rounded and satisfying feast. Such a fun meal to enjoy with friends and family.

I personally tend to enjoy pork most when it is marinated in a mixture of fragrant and flavourful ingredients such as this one. Not only does a good marinade help to tenderise the meat, it also enhances the taste and makes it that much more enjoyable.  

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12. Beef Stew (Kokkinisto)

Stews are a common and beloved culinary tradition worldwide, and they often feature similar cooking methods and key ingredients. The universal appeal of stews lies in their comfort, warmth, and ability to bring out deep flavours.

This hearty Greek stew recipe is slow cooked in a rich tomato and red wine sauce, making the beef so tender and delectable. The choice of side dishes can vary based on personal preferences and regional influences. I personally love to serve it on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes, as it soaks up the juices and complements the dish wonderfully.

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