Kokoretsi is a traditional Greek dish made of animal giblets. It is usually served as an appetizer, cut in slices. It is made all year round but in particular during Easter.
The ancient Greeks were possibly the first who tried kokoretsi and there are many cases in texts to prove it, however its name was different. The word “plekti” which is mentioned in homer was possibly the ancestor of today’s kokoretsi. It also contained intestines, which were initially coated with vinegar for antisepsis but also to extract fats. It was then coated with honey for a richer taste but also to create the external characteristic crust. The way of cooking was also similar to that used today.
The world kokoretsi is also found in texts from the Byzantine era , with the name of “horde” or “hordia”. There are many versions as to its final name , one of which comes from the Romanian word “koukoretsou” which means spindle. A second version states that it comes form the Albanian word “kokorets” which means mixture and is also the one we use today.
There are many ways to prepare kokoretsi. The giblets are mainly intestines, pluck, and sweetbreads. The washed giblets are kept in a container with water and lemon pieces for a few hours in order to remove the intense smell. The giblets are cut into medium sized pieces and then salt, pepper, oregano and cumin are added. The pieces are then passed on the skewer and covered with the gut. They eventually become a knot and the kokoretsi is tied with the giblets. The giblets must be enough to cover the whole kokoretsi so that it cooks without losing its juices. The cooking time depends on the fire and the thickness of the kokoretsi. It usually takes about 2 hours. According to some recipes, the kokoretsi should be prepared from the morning of the previous day and should remain vertically until it is time to be cooked. Apart from being cooked on a barbeque, kokoretsi can also be cooked in the oven.