Fans of Greek food in Portland probably already know Eleni’s Estiatorio in Sellwood and Eleni’s Philoxenxia in the Pearl. They might not know that Eleni Touhouliotis came to the US from Chania, Crete, in 1974. Eleni’s mother, aunt and cousin (a famous writer living in Crete, who wrote a Greek cookbook) all influenced Eleni’s passion for cooking. She always dreamed of owning her own business, and creating her own menu using foods and recipes from Crete.
After working in a Greek restaurant in Portland for 17 years Eleni realised her dream and opened Eleni’s Estiatorio in August 2000 (7712 SE 13th Ave., 503-230-2165). She opened her second restaurant, Eleni’s Philoxenia in June 2004 in the Pearl District (112 NW 9th Ave., 503-227-2158).
Eleni has a passion for good food, and whenever available, serves fresh organic vegetables. All the meat she serves is raised respectfully without hormones: Oregon Painted Hills beef, Carlton pork, Draper Valley free range chickens and New Zealand lambs. The olive oil she uses is a very fine, first pressing from the island of Crete. She kindly shared her Arni kapama me filo recipe with Portland Examiner. These luscious stewed meat filo bundles require a little effort in the preparation but the rewards are mouth-watering. Perfect for a dinner party or a special family meal.
ARNI KAPAMA ME FILO
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 1 package fresh filo dough (can be purchased in Greek retail markets)
- 1 cup grated Kefalograviera cheese (also at Greek markets)
- 1 cup feta (sheep’s milk) cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2-1/2 lb leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into stewing cubes
- 2 large white onions, peeled and diced
- 8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup minced fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup minced fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup minced fresh thyme
- 6 cups peeled diced tomato
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Kapama (stewed meat)
1. In a large, heavy stewing pot, heat olive oil and cook lamb pieces, turning frequently on all sides to brown evenly and lightly. Season with salt, pepper and cumin.
2. In separate, large stock pot, heat olive oil, add onions and coarsely chopped garlic. Cook onions until translucent, then add lamb pieces, fresh minced rosemary, thyme and oregano, and white wine, and cover with diced tomatoes.
3. Cover pot with lid and reduce heat to a slow simmer for approx. 3 hours.
Use three 12×17 sheets of filo per serving
1. Use a room temperature saute pan. For each serving, brush pan entirely with olive oil and quickly place three sheets of filo paper, alternating/overlapping each other.
2. Using a slotted spoon, place a serving of the Kapama lamb in center and sprinkle with handful of cheese.
3. Quickly fold each edge of filo, covering the lamb to create a filo “package” completely enclosing the lamb; brush lightly with olive oil and brown in a convection oven at 500 degrees for approx 4-6 min
4. Slide out of pan onto plate carefully using a metal spatula.
5. Repeat process for each serving.
Optional: Top with sautéed asparagus and more feta