Squid stuffed with Feta Cheese

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Serves: 4

Preparation time: 1 hour 15 min.

Kalamarakia me Feta, one of the most popular dishes in Greece. It takes a bit of work but the result is worth it. Squid is readily available in the frozen section of most supermarkets. Try to get small to medium ones, they are more tender. I like to serve the squids with pita bread or roasted potatoes. Last time I served it with couscous – it worked quite well.

Ingredients:

Squid and Filling:

  • 10 squids, cleaned, tentacles cut off and set aside
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped or 1 tsp dried dill
  • 4 oz (115 g) feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • toothpicks for closing squid pouches

Sauce:

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup (115 g)
  • 1 cup (225 g) canned tomatoes with their juice
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (to make the sauce denser)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) white wine
  • 1/2 Tbsp chopped coriander (substitute: parsley)
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges for garnish

Preparation:

When you buy squid nowadays you mostly get the squid pouches without the tentacles. Thoroughly wash the pouch (inside and outside) and – if available – the tentacles. Dry them well with paper towels.

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Chop tentacles or if not included 1 or 2 pouches finely and put them in a bowl together with the chopped parsley and dill, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, the crumbled feta cheese, the chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix everything well with a fork until you have a grainy mass.

Spoon 2-3 teaspoons of this mixture into each of the 8 pouches. As you fill them, push the mixture down the pouch from top to bottom. Do not overstuff, leave at least 3/8 inches (1 cm) space on top of the pouch. The pouches will shrink when sautéed and you don’t want them to burst, a rather messy outcome ruining the entire dish! Use a toothpick to close each pouch; thread it like you would do it with a needle. Take a wet paper towel and clean the squid pouches from leftover filling and dry them well.

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Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté squids gently for 8-10 minutes or until they start to look golden. Do not use high heat, the squid pouches will burst. Remove the squids from the saucepan and set aside.

Add the chopped onions to the saucepan and sauté them until soft – about 10 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, the tomato paste, and the 1/2 cup (120 ml) white wine. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the chopped coriander (or parsley), the caraway seeds and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Return squids to the saucepan. Let them simmer over very low heat for about 45 minutes; make sure the saucepan is covered. Taste for salt and pepper.

To better present the squids on the plate, I cut them in half.

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