Lamb with Pachakia (Cretan Wild Greens) | Recipes

Lamb with Pachakia (Cretan Wild Greens)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch ‘pachakia’
  • 1 kg lamb or goat, in portions
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 bunch fennel leaves
  • Salt
  • Pepper

PREPARATION

Lightly sauté the finely chopped onion. Add the meat. Sauté for about 15 minutes on a low heat, and pour over the wine. When the wine has evaporated, add the chopped tomato. Next add chopped fennel and season with salt and pepper. Add the water. Bring to the boil, add the greens, and leave to simmer. Interesting facts:

Pachieta (or pachakia) is a plant that has been a source of nourishment for generations, from ancient times to the present day. It grows in mountainous areas where stamnagathi wild greens do not grow. It has the same nutritional value as stamnagathi and avronies. It can be used instead of stamnagathi, and can be cooked in many different ways. It has a sharp acidic taste. Pachieta (or pachakia) contains many antioxidants and vitamins, and can lower cholesterol.

It can be cooked as follows: boiled, for the nutritional value of the juice; with lamb, goat or pork; in red sauces or fricassee; fried in batter, like amvronies, and even cooked in a clay pot (tsikali) with eggs and tomatoes. Its harvest period is from February to May. Its foliage is thick and wide, hence its name ‘pachakia’, meaning fatty. After the month of May, the leaves begin to dry out and the plants produce beautiful yellow flowers.

(Source: Ioanna Pantelaki, Chef, specialising in Cretan cuisine)