Susies  Atsaides


   Greek Recipes

Meat Main Dishes

Roasted Pig’s Head/Kefali Gourouniou Psito

Here on the Islands this dish is considered a   delicacy especially over the Holidays. It wasn’t until I was given one as a pre-holiday present that I realized the only existing recipes for this were safely guarded secrets in the minds of the old village women. I thought to share it with you so the tradition can live on.


1 pig’s head, with some of the neck attached.  
2-4 whole garlic cloves Marinade:
ground cumin 2 cups olive oil
salt and pepper 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

The pig's head must be cleaned. The snout, mouth and ears will have to be cleaned but I think you can get a good butcher to do it for you. He will also have to skin it to remove the tough outer layer and the hairs, but leave the fat intact. When you get it home, wash it well under running water and let it drain.

Set the head on your cutting board. Make a few slits in the fleshier part of it and insert the garlic cloves. I put them towards the back of the head, near the neck. Sprinkle the whole thing with lots of salt and pepper and a generous amount of cumin.

Set it in a large bowl and pour the marinade over it. Let it stand over night, covered, in the refrigerator to absorb the spices.

When you are ready to cook it set it in a pan, sitting up and staring at you. Add an inch of water, and if you wish a spicier version, sprinkle with more salt and pepper and cumin. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil and roast it at about 325°F for 2 to 3 hours. You can check if it's done by piercing the fleshiest part, it should cut easily. For the last half hour of cooking, remove the foil and increase the temperature to 375°F so that the outside can brown – I got creative and put an apple in it’s mouth at this stage to bake with it.

When you serve it, you will have to split the cranium with a heavy knife. Pigs don’t have a large brain cavity, so most of it will be meat.

Susie’s Note: This traditional dish is served as a Meze here on the Islands. So have lots of chilled Ouzo or Raki on hand as well as an array of other appetizers.


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