When in Messinia, eat as the Messinians eat…
In Messinia we are surrounded by sea…but as it often happens all around Greece…the diet here is more meat based then fish based.
Not such good news for me…in this case…as my nutrition inclinations are almost vegetarian.
However I do admit that the ultra meaty traditional Messinian dish which is pork roast can be a delicacy.
During the Ottoman occupation the Greeks were often raided for the lamb and goat meat which was traditionally eaten in the mountainous region of the Peloponnese.
The Greeks had to find a solution to those raids and started raising pigs, the pork meat could not be eaten by the Turks for religious reasons. Since then “gourounopoula”, as the locals call it, has become a traditional and in Messinia in particular a top favorite dish. You can find it in every village of Messinia appearing as a street dish and the greatest feast delicacy likewise!
A practical roast which can be done in a regular oven is a pork shoulder roast (spala hoirini in Greek) which is a relatively inexpensive cut that can serve a group of people. The boned roast (boned by the butcher) is delicious hot or cold. It is characterized by its sweet meat and crisp skin.
I nicknamed it as “sunset” as it takes many hours to cook it in the oven and if you begin cooking in the morning the meat gets out of the oven at sunset.
This time it has been prepared by two Messinians by birth- authentic dish by authentic guys!
12 pounds (6 kilograms) of boned pork shoulder with skin
Bottled lemon juice
1 glass of water
Place the meat in a roasting pan (with a tray and a lid)
Rub the skin (not the meat) with sodaWash of the soda off with lemon juice (best in this case is the supermarket bottled lemon juice for cooking)…the soda will foam and disappear…Add one glass of water, close the lid and place the dish in the oven at 160C for At least 7 hours…( but it can stay even for 10 hours)
Take the dish out and pour the liquid outGrill for 2 minutes and when the skin swells grill exactly one more minute….(watch out, the skin can burn very quickly)Prepare a mixture of sea salt and pepper and spice the meat after serving….“Sunset” gourounopoula is ready