What is Afelia?

Red wine is used to make afelia.

Popular on the island of Cypress, afelia is a Greek dish of pork marinated in red wine. Called the Cypriot dish, afelia uses red wine and crushed coriander seeds to season pork before roasting. Although it uses few ingredients, afelia has a tasty bittersweet flavor. This dish is not easily found outside of Greece, but it is easy to make at home.

Cinnamon sticks are sometimes added to afelia.

Aphelia’s main condiment is a red wine with cilantro marinade. Usually salt and pepper are the only seasonings included. Occasionally, other spices such as cinnamon sticks are added to the dish. Always in cubes, the meat is usually lean pork shoulder, but it can also be ribs.

Coriander, the seed of the coriander plant, is popular in many Greek dishes. Used both in the marinade and near the end of the cooking process, cilantro adds a citrusy flavor to aphelia. Seeds should always be crushed immediately before use to retain maximum flavor. A mortar and pestle work best for grinding the seeds.

The cubed pork is first marinated in the coriander-wine mixture. At the very least, it should be marinated for several hours, but it’s best to let it soak in flavor overnight. After marinating, the meat is removed from the liquid and dried. The liquid is then reserved for later use.

Then the meat is braised, which means it is first lightly toasted and then cooked in the liquid until tender. To brown the pork, the pieces are placed in small portions in a frying pan with oil. After browning, each batch is removed and set aside. When all the pork is browned, it returns to the skillet after the excess oil is removed.

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The reserved marinade, along with more red wine or water, is placed in the pan with the meat and simmered. The liquid should just cover the meat. Salt and pepper are also added for seasoning at this point.

As the liquid boils, it thickens by reduction. Just before the afelia finishes cooking, more crushed cilantro is sprinkled over the pork. When the meat is tender and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce, the dish is complete.

Afelia is usually served with side dishes. Bread or crispy potatoes are commonly served with this dish. Pourgouri pilaf – a type of pilaf that uses vermicelli, wheat and chicken broth – is also a suggested side.

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