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Popular on the island of Cypress, afelia is a Greek pork dish marinated in red wine. Called a Cypriot dish, afelia uses red wine and crushed coriander seeds to season the pork before braising. Though it uses few ingredients, afelia has a flavorful sweet and sour taste. This dish is not easily found outside of Greece, but it is easy to make at home.
The main flavoring in afelia is a red wine and coriander marinade. Usually salt and pepper are the only other seasonings included. Occasionally other spices, such as cinnamon sticks, are added to the dish. Always cubed, the meat is usually lean pork shoulder, but may also be short ribs.
Coriander, the seeds of the cilantro plant, is popular in many Greek dishes. Used in both the marinade and near the end of the cooking process, the coriander adds a citrus flavor to afelia. The seeds should always be ground immediately before using in order to retain their maximum flavor. A mortar and pestle works best for grinding the seeds.
The cubed pork is first marinated in the wine-coriander mixture. At minimum, it should be marinated for several hours, but it is best left to soak in the flavor overnight. Once marinated, the meat is removed from the liquid and patted dry. The liquid is then reserved for later use.
Then, the meat is braised, meaning that it is first lightly browned, and then simmered in liquid until tender. To brown the pork, the pieces are placed in small batches in a pan with olive oil. Once barely browned, each batch is removed and set aside. When all the pork is browned, it is returned to the pan after any excess oil is wiped away.
The reserved marinade, along with more red wine or water, is then poured into the pan with the meat and simmered. The liquid should only just cover the meat. Salt and pepper are also added for seasoning at this point.
As the liquid simmers, it thickens through reduction. Shortly before the afelia has finished cooking, more crushed coriander is sprinkled over the pork. When the meat is tender and the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce, the dish is complete.
Afelia is usually served with sides. Crusty bread or potatoes are commonly served with this dish. Pourgouri pilafi — a type a pilaf using vermicelli, wheat, and chicken broth — is also a suggested side.
Hello from Cyprus.
This dish is common on the island of Cyprus (cypress is a tree).
Although commonly made with pork it is also made with small potatoes, which are cracked to allow the red wine and olive oil to get into the potatoes, and then roasted slowly for 1 - 1½ hours, then sprinkled with cracked coriander seeds and served (including all the crunchy bits from the pan)
Other afelias are squid (kalimari), asparagus hearts, mushrooms and liver.
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