I think I’m becoming a bit of an ‘expert’ in making Greek-style “kokoretsi” — or lamb innards on a spit. Kokoretsi is not only a classic dish, it’s origins are ancient. Making it is an involved process, and it takes some practice. Assuming you can find the ingredients on the fresh market, you also have to know how to clean and prepare everything, and that’s time consuming. I blogged a bit about my previous attempt earlier…including the ordeal of thoroughly cleaning the intestines.
Thanks to the Papoutsakis /Katrakis clans for showing kokoretsi trainees Lucie and myself how to prepare this traditional dish! The liver, heart, kidneys, spleen and lungs of the lamb are cut into pieces, marinated in good Greek olive oil, lots of lemon juice, crushed oregano, sea salt and black pepper. Next, they are placed on a large skewer, or souvla. The whole is then wrapped in a sheet of the messentery, or connective tissue (which would normally enclose the abdominal organs in the live animal). Finally, the kokoretsi is wrapped with the intestines, which keeps everything in place, much like securing a roast with kitchen string.
The finished skewer is roasted in the BBQ — rotisserie style — until the whole thing is brown and crunchy on the outside. The skewer is removed, and the dish is served in thick slices — often with lemon slices and onions.
It’s a shame that organ meats have largely been rejected in the Western diet, as they’ve been important to mankind since prehistoric times. In many ancient cuisines (Greece is just one), they were symbols of strength and celebration. So don’t just get your innards by eating hot dogs, where they are ground up so you can’t distinguish the contents — do your health a favour and go for the real thing!