The concept of Sunday Supper was introduced to me 20 years ago. I met, fell in love with and married the oldest of three (first generation) strapping Greek boys. I was the first “not to be Greek” wife in the entire family.
No pressure, none at all.
I will never forget My Yanni inviting me to meet his family and enjoy a Sunday Supper with them. I was in no way prepared for what I was about to walk into. Sure I’d grown up enjoying family meals around the kitchen table but I had never experienced a weekly feast that included the entire extended family that could rival any major holiday.
Now imagine, if you will, walking into a kitchen pulsating with authentic Greek music, a mass of people laughing & talking loudly (including my in-laws speaking very fast and furiously and only in Greek) with a stove top full of bubbling pots, a table full of more chairs than I could count and me standing there in awe. It didn’t take long for me to be pulled in the delightful chaos and find myself setting the table alongside my soon-to-be-brother-in-laws while sipping on wine that had been placed in my hand without me even realizing it. Sunday Suppers were and still are quite the experience! Only now we have even more people crowded around the table and my mother-in-law seems to spend countless hours cooking in the kitchen. She will happily spend the whole day making everything from scratch. I gotta tell ya I’ve often worried about how in the world I would be capable of carrying on this most cherished tradition. That was, until I met Pam Anderson.
Pam is a phenomenal lady, culinary wizard and contributing editor of Fine Cooking magazine. She has written many incredible cookbooks, but her latest, “Perfect ONE-DISH Dinners” has saved me, my family and the future of our Sunday Suppers! Her book is a collection of recipes for entire meals from the appetizer course to the dessert. And the best part? If you can believe that it gets any better, every main course is an easy one-dish meal.
When Pam and her lovely daughters invited me to write a post about Sunday Suppers and Perfect One-Dish Dinners, I was both honored and overjoyed! I had cooked from Pam’s cookbook already but using this as a fantastic source for all of my future Sunday Suppers had never occurred to me. And they are right! This book will assist me in Sunday Suppers for years to come. It will never leave my side, or my kitchen or my house or my life.
After pouring over the book for the perfect dish I knew exactly what I had to do. I had to go all out with a lamb recipe! I had never (gulp) ever dared to even think of preparing lamb before. The pressure to perform and to be compared to the centuries of relatives who had perfectly prepared lamb was just too much.
But now, knowing that I had Pam on my side, I decided to make the Braised Lamb Shanks.
Pam suggests starting the meal with Parmesan Pepper Crisps.
Crispy, salty, peppery, festive little clouds of perfection. The perfect way to tantalize your taste buds.
I will be making these religiously from this day forward.
After everyone had happily crunched away on the yummy Parmesan Crisps (and I had safely hidden some away for a midnight snack), the salad was served.
We dined on Baby Spinach with Fennel, Oranges, and Red Onion. The salad was perfection. Delicate baby spinach mixed with sweet juicy oranges, paired with red onions and the gentle flavor of black licorice provided by the fennel would make any Greek god dance.
Next, the moment that I had been waiting for. The unveiling of the lamb. The quintessential essence of Greek life. I couldn’t decide what was causing my forehead to bead with sweat more, the heat from the oven, the sting of my very first burn while cooking this dinner or the anticipation of waiting to see if I had cooked my way into the ranks of Greek Goddess.
After the oooh’s and aaah’s had subsided, the question that I had been dreading was asked. “Wendy honey (spoken in a thick Greek accent) how did you make this?” “It’s delicious.”
I had to admit right there and then in all my glory that I had indeed not slaved over 15 boiling pots to prepare this incredible meal. I admitted that this delicious meal was made in <sigh> one-dish. The tender lamb and succulent side of beans with tomatoes and vegetables, they were all made in one-dish in no time flat. And my mother-in-law? To my surprise, she was overjoyed and intrigued by my one-dish method.
The finale of my flawless Greek inspired meal was the Shredded Baklava Cups. They were nothing short of a religious experience. You’ll never believe how easy it is!
First, you’ll want to place 12 cupcake liners into muffin tins and spray with vegetable-oil cooking spray.
These are the simple ingredients that you’ll need: honey, sugar, pistachios, butter and cinnamon.
And of course, phyllo dough, the star of this delectable dessert.
When working with phyllo dough, the key to perfection is keeping the phyllo moist.
A damp dish towel wrapped around the dough covered in plastic does the trick.
You’ll want to create ribbons out of the phyllo dough and it’s really very simple. Leaving the phyllo rolled up, cut crosswise into 1 inch slices.
Shake each cut section of phyllo dough into a bowl allowing them to fall and voila you’ve got ribbons.
Next, pour 1 cup of pistachios into a food processor,
and pulse until finely ground.
Sprinkle all but 2 tablespoons of the finely ground pistachios and cinnamon into the phyllo ribbons and toss.
Pour 1/4 of the melted butter over the phyllo ribbons, toss to coat…
and repeat until butter is gone.
There is just nothing more divine than a bowl of phyllo dough ribbons covered in butter, cinnamon and pistachios.
Now you’re ready to fill each muffin cup with the phyllo ribbons,
press gently with finger tips.
Sprinkle remainder of finely ground pistachios over each phyllo cup.
Bake for 22-25 minutes at 350º until golden brown.
W.S. Gilbert once wrote:
“It’s not so much what’s on the table that matters, as much as what’s in the chairs.”
But after easily preparing, heartily consuming and thoroughly enjoying a delicious one-dish meal, I kinda think that I can enjoy BOTH.
May you & your family enjoy many special Sunday Suppers to come.
Here’s Pam’s Shredded Baklava Cups recipe, you can buy the book on Amazon for all of the other delicious recipes!
Shredded Baklava Cups
Adapted from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners
(makes 12 servings)
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 8-ounce package (from a 16-ounce box) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1 cup roasted pistachios, finely ground in a food processor, set aside 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons water
Here’s what you’ll do:
Preheat oven to 350º. Place 12 cupcake liners into muffin tins and spray with vegetable-oil cooking spray.
Slice rolled phyllo dough crosswise into 1 inch strips.
Place phyllo strips into bowl by shaking into ribbons. Pour in all but 2 tablespoons of finely ground pistachios and cinnamon, toss gently with fingers to evenly coat phyllo ribbons.
Pour melted butter 1/4 at a time over phyllo ribbons, toss to coat, repeat until butter is gone.
Fill each muffin liner with phyllo ribbons, gently press into cups with fingers and sprinkle each with remaining ground pistachios.
Bake for 22-25 minutes until golden brown.
How to make honey drizzle:
Pour 6 tablespoons of honey, water and sugar into a pan and bring to boil. Set mixture aside until cooled to warm. Drizzle honey mixture over Baklava cups.