This traditional Greek Spetzofai dish is one that was shown to me by Erisa a talented Greek lady, so I know it’s authentic. Originally, of course it would have been non-vegan due to the sausages. That’s easily sorted with Linda McCartney vegan sausages which work a treat in this rich tomato laden dish. It also has a healthy dose of red wine in it to help it along.
The tricky thing with this dish however is sourcing the correct green peppers. Turkish peppers are a particular type that are not easy to come by. They are a light green colour, long and fairly thin – see the picture of them in the recipe. These peppers have a slightly bitter taste that is necessary for this dish. Indian or ethnic grocery stores are your best bet. Sainsbury’s or the big supermarkets never seem to sell them. They are a bit like a green version of a Romano pepper, but with a more bitter taste.
Thyme is important too, and a little bit of palm sugar really helps the dish along. It’s a very hearty dish, which goes very well with garlic bread, hummus, red bean pate and some kind of grain. Pan fried polenta is another option as are chunky potato chips or cous cous.
It’s a dish that’s native to the province of Thessaly, which lies between Macedonia and Attiki. More specifically, spetzofai has its origins in the Pelion region of Thessaly: it’s a mountainous peninsula that protects Volos on one side and offering views of the nearby Sporades island just off into the Aegean. Sounds very romantic as a setting doesn’t it!
When you serve a traditional Greek spetzofai dish like this one, it won’t fail to disappoint your dinner party guests. So the next time you spot some of these long green Greek peppers, snap them up immediately, so you can make this dish!
Spetzofai - greek dish
- 9 LM sausages total 400g – could be a mix of Chorizo & Rosemary & Red onion.
- 1 whole large red onion 350g - 400g roughly chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 800 g long green Greek style peppers roughly chopped (in total 6 peppers worth weight) - or a mixture of these and other peppers. It seems like a lot, but this is the principle ingredient.
- 600 g chopped tomatoes …. that's 1 1/2 cans or a can and 250g of vine tomatoes.
- 100 g of tomato puree.
- 250 g of water – but use your judgement
- 2 to 3 tbsps olive oil
- 450 ml red wine can be quite cheap red wine.
- 2 tsp palm sugar
- 2 whole bay leaves optional
- 5 whole chilli peppers - finger chillies are good optional
- 2 teaspoons of paprika can be smoked paprika
- 1 teasp garlic powder
- 1 teasp onion powder
- 1 to 2 teasp yeast flakes.
- 1 teasp veg stock
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 30 g of fresh Thyme – if you like using fresh herbs
- Roughly chop the red onion and begin to sauté in olive oil on a medium heat.
- After a few minutes add the garlic either chopped finely or crushed as you prefer.
- Meanwhile fry the sausages in an Actifry or in a frying pan (more difficult to cook evenly in a pan).
- chopped into largish pieces (2 to 3cm) along with the chillies diced quite finely.
- As the onions are softening and going translucent (after 5mins or so), add in the peppers & chillies.
- Chop the Linda McCartney sausages (or your preferred brand) into 6 cylindrical pieces and add to the mix.
- Shortly after add in the vine tomatoes chopped finely – if using them.
- Add in the fresh Thyme sprigs – don’t bother chopping – just add them whole.
- After 10 mins of cooking, add in all the spices and other dry ingredients and stir well.
- Then add in the red wine & simmer this mixture until almost absorbed.
- Add in the tomato puree and canned tomatoes and just enough extra water.
- Bring to the boil and simmer on the stove top stirring fairly often – or cover and transfer to the oven on 150°C and cook until well blended and peppers are tender.
- Adjust liquid content so that you have a nice thickish sauce.