Located in Calgary’s Willow Park Village, Broken Plate was originally opened by a Greek family using old, family-style recipes while grandma cooked in the back. These days, under chef and owner Ervin Bushi, Broken Plate is very much a modern expression of Greek dining, plus, after a recent redesign, this light and airy location is closer to the Grecian seaside than a traditional tavern.
Bushi is a big believer that our memories, taste, and sense of smell go hand in hand. “When I eat a delicious octopus dish – my current favourite – I always feel the seaside close by me.” When asked what he loves about Greek food, he adds, “It’s the flavour and versatility. You will never eat bland Greek food. In terms of versatility, you will never run out of ideas as a Greek chef.”
For the home chef, says Bushi, “There are absolutely some traditional classic ingredients such as oregano and lemon. For me personally, the best Greek ingredient is fresh lemon because it can transform a dish, (but) simple and fresh ingredients are key. The magic is in the simplicity of a good product. A great cut of meat, fresh, plump tomatoes, a juicy lemon, a mix of aromatic spices. It is not as complicated as people believe.”
For a mouthwatering Greek casserole, try Chef Bushi’s Giouvetsi with Lamb Shank and Kritharaki (orzo pasta).
½ cup (120 mL) olive oil
4 lamb shanks
To taste salt and pepper
4 celery sticks, diced
1½ cups carrots, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
2/3 cup (160 mL) tomato puree
¾ cup + 3 Tbs (225 mL) red wine
4 bay leaves
15 black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1 sprig fresh rosemary
440 mL can tomatoes, diced
300 g orzo pasta
28 g fresh mint, chopped
28 g fresh parsley, chopped
150 g shredded kefalotyri cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. In a Dutch oven or a heavy bottomed pan, add ¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil on medium heat.
- Season the lamb shanks well with salt and pepper. Starting with the side where the meat is cut first, sear the meat on all sides until golden brown. Place in a 10 cm deep oven-safe dish.
- In the same pot where you seared the shanks, add the diced celery, diced carrots, and the chopped garlic. Sauté for around 5 minutes. When the vegetables are starting to brown, add the tomato puree. Sauté for 2 more minutes and deglaze with the red wine. Cook until 2/3 of the wine has evaporated.
- Add to the shanks wih the bay leaves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and the rosemary. Add the diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add hot water to cover the shanks with 2 cms water above the shanks. Cover with the lid or foil. Braise in the oven for 2 hours.
- When the shanks have been braising for 1 hour and 50 minutes, take another saucepan, add ¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil and sauté the orzo pasta until golden brown.
- Remove dish from oven. Add orzo pasta and mix. Remove the cinnamon stick.
- At this point, the dish needs 2 cm of liquid above the pasta. If the liquid level of the dish is low, add boiling water. Check seasoning. Cover, and continue braising further for 30 minutes.
- To serve, finely grate the zest of two lemons, and mix with the chopped mint and parsley. Sprinkle the dish with the lemon herb mix and kefalotyri cheese.