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The best of Greek food : Corfu’s Pastitsada

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Greece consists of a great number of islands, both in the Ionian and the Aegean Sea, and each one of them has its own local cuisine that offers visitors a wealth of new fresh flavors that satisfy even those with the most difficult taste.

Corfu, which belongs to the Ionian Islands, has earned its reputation in Greek gastronomy via the unique specialties in local dishes. One of them is Corfiot Pastitsada.

What is pastitsada?

For those who love meat, pastitsada is a delicious journey to the land of spices and fresh tomatoes. Use fresh ingredients and taste a heavenly dish! If you don’t want to cook it yourself, you can order it or eat it at a local taverna, but bear in mind that there are two options: Pastitsada made from beef and pastitsada made from cock or chicken. Although these dishes are cooked by following similar cooking instructions, the taste is distinctly different in each dish. Beef has a much better taste than poultry. Moreover, if you would like to try cock, which is much more delicious than ordinary chicken, make sure the dish you get consists of cock and not chicken. The latter is a bit cheaper to get.

The ingredients: meat of poultry?

So, pastitsada made from beef is actually a dish that consists of the following ingredients:

Some pieces of lean beef cooked in thick tomato sauce made from olive oil and flavored with garlic, onion, cinnamon, salt and black pepper. However, the best taste is achieved by using a fresh piece of meat and not a frozen one. The meat has to be cut into large chunks and be lean and red. Most tavernas on the island use fresh meat, but you can ask before ordering to make sure. Chicken dishes are often prepared with frozen poultry, but cock pastitsada is usually made from fresh cock on special days, such as national celebrations, so it is not an every day dish.

If you cook at home, substitute beef with cock, add the same sauce and spices, and you have a new version of pastitsada. Cooking time differs too, as beef needs more time to become tender than poultry. When ready, the sauce is thick and dark red and the meat tender. Use a fork to test it. If you taste a well cooked pastitsada, you do not need a knife to cut the meat.

The secret

The secret of the special flavor of this dish is to add 1-2 dry leaves of laurel in the sauce as well as a stick of cinnamon, while if you get freshly ground black pepper instead of ready made pepper sold in super markets, you get a much more tasteful result.

How to serve it

Corfiot pastitsada has to be served with freshly made pasta, such as rigatoni, boiled in salty water, topped with ample ground Parmesan cheese. Accompany that dish with fresh salad, such as the Greek salad made from sliced tomatoes, green peppers, cucumber, onions, olives and feta cheese drenched in olive oil, and you have the most popular local dish. Some fresh whole meal bread is always necessary to enhance the flavor of every local specialty. Don’t forget that Greeks eat a lot of bread, and nothing tastes better than a fresh loaf!

Photo of pasta with pastitsada by Liana Metal

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer liana metal

Liana Metal lives in Greece, on the island of Corfu. She is an EFL teacher (MAEd -Applied Linguistics), book reviewer and freelance writer. She loves writing articles in a variety of genres for publications worldwide. Her latest academic article is at

8 responses to “The best of Greek food : Corfu’s Pastitsada”

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  1. Nathan Lee says:
    August 3rd, 2010 at 18:33

    writing articles is what i do as part time job, i enjoy writing and rewriting,,.

  2. Kaitlyn Rogers says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 12:18

    Greek Foods are tasty and delicious maybe because of the spices they put in it”‘~

  3. Network Switch : says:
    October 23rd, 2010 at 22:15

    my father is greek that is why i also love greek foods. Greek food in my opinion is one of the world’s best tasting food:*:

  4. Socket Set : says:
    October 25th, 2010 at 19:31

    i can write severa articles in one day as long as it is related to health and medicine which is my favorite topic-;’

  5. Sectional Garage says:
    December 13th, 2010 at 20:58

    Italian and Greek Foods are indeed very spicy. sometimes they are so spicy hot –:

  6. Corfu Hotels says:
    February 5th, 2011 at 11:55

    All visitors lern pastitsada and sofrito in Corfu. But there are some other wonderful plates. Tsigareli and bourdeto. Slowly slowly we should be teach our visitors to other tastes :):):)

  7. Balenciaga bag says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 12:34

    I realized a large amount simply by considering the write-up. I have already been taking a look at your blog a large amount within the last day or two and possesses attained a spot during my book marks.

  8. Ian Stephenson says:
    December 28th, 2012 at 02:32

    When the cook says laurel, she means what we English call bayleaves.. Cannot wait to try this out!

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