|Region or state||Balkans, Asia Minor|
|Main ingredients||Lamb or goat intestines, offal (sweetbreads, hearts, lungs or kidneys)|
|Cookbook: Kokoretsi Media: Kokoretsi|
Kokoretsi (Greek) or Kokoreç (Turkish), is a dish of the Balkans, Greece, Azerbaijan, Iranian Azerbaijan and Turkey consisting of lamb or goat intestines wrapped around seasoned offal, including sweetbreads, hearts, lungs, or kidneys, and typically grilled; a variant consists of chopped innards cooked on a griddle. The intestines of suckling lambs are preferred.
The Greek name for the dish is kokoretsi (κοκορέτσι), while the Turkish name is kokoreç. It is also known as Jaghoor Baghoor ("lamb's liver") in Persian and Cizi Bizi in Azerbaijani. The origins of kokoretsi are traced back to ancient Greek sacrifices to god, where intestines were broiled over the altar, as depicted in numerous ancient Greek ceramic potery.
The offal, along with some fat, is washed and cut into 1/2" to 3/4" thick pieces, and lightly seasoned with lemon, olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper, and sometimes garlic. The intestine are turned inside out and carefully washed, then rubbed with salt and often soaked in vinegar or lemon juice and water.
The filling meats are threaded onto a long skewer and wrapped with the intestine to hold them together, forming a compact roll usually about 16"-24" long by 1 1/2" to 3" in diameter.
Kokoretsi is usually roasted on a horizontal skewer over a charcoal, gas, or electrical burner, and may be basted with lemon juice and olive oil.
A quite different preparation mixes the chopped innards with chopped tomatoes and green peppers, and then cooks them on a large griddle with hot red pepper and oregano added. The cook constantly mixes and chops the mixture using two spatulas. When done, the dish is kept warm aside on the griddle until someone orders a serving.
The cooked kokoretsi is chopped or sliced, sprinkled with oregano, and served on a plate. Sometimes it is served on a piece of flatbread. Some add tomatoes or spices in it. It may also (especially in Turkey) be served in half a baguette or in a sandwich bun, plain or garnished, almost always with oregano and red pepper. In Turkey, common side dishes are pickled peppers or cucumbers. It is often seasoned with lemon, oregano, salt, a pepper, and typically accompanied by wine or raki.
National and regional
Kokoretsi is occasionally available in restaurants, ouzeris and tavernas year round in Greece, but for the most part it remains a festival dish ordinarily prepared only once a year at home during Orthodox Easter celebrations when it is traditional for Greek families to spit-roast a whole lamb. It serves as a "meze" or appetizer until the lamb is ready.
Due to outbreak of mad cow disease in the late 90's, banning the consumption of offal was considered. However, the idea was abandoned.
Gardouba (γαρδούμπα) or gardoubakia (γαρδουμπάκια) is a smaller variant of kokoretsi; it may be grilled like kokoretsi, or roasted in a pan. Its name comes from the Italian caldume.
Kokoreç is one of the most consumed fast foods in Turkey. Most of it is prepared, cooked and sold in small kiosks year-round, and is usually consumed as a sandwich. It is also served in some restaurants.