On the wheat-growing Greek island where we have a home, farmers grind their crop at local mills to produce rustic, fragrant, gold-colored flour. Bread made from this is slightly sweeter and has a grainier texture than bread made with America’s gluten rich flour.
You can come close to replicating the taste of Greek Village Bread by mixing commercial semolina and bread flours. Semolina provides the flavor, and bread flour helps the bread rise and improves its structure.
The bread is wonderful fresh or toasted. When it gets stale, Greek Village Bread works well as an ingredient in Fattoush (Tomato and Bread Salad) or Skordalia (Garlic Spread).
Sunday I made French Dip Sandwiches using fresh-from-the-oven Greek Village Bread and leftover roast prime rib from Thanksgiving, shaved thin and warmed through. For the dipping sauce, I used a mixture of minced shallots, dried wild thyme, dried chipotle peppers, red wine, and beef stock.
The dipping sauce was excellent, and much better than the too-salty “jus” often served with French Dips in restaurants. Even so, fresh, flavorful Greek Village Bread is what made the sandwich special.
The recipe for Greek Village Bread is in Tastes Like Home: Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska, as are the recipes for Fattoush and Skordalia. Tastes Like Home can be ordered here.
Dipping Sauce for French Dip Sandwiches
Makes enough dipping sauce for two sandwiches
I’ve been making this dipping sauce for so many years, I no longer remember where I originally got the idea. My husband minces the chipotles cooked in the dipping sauce, mixes them with cooked shallots left in the saucepan after pouring off the liquid (and sometimes a little horseradish), and spreads the mixture on his sandwich.
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
2 dried chipotle peppers
Freshly ground black pepper
Put all the ingredients except the salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium and cook at a slow boil until the liquid has reduced by half. Taste, and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed. Remove the chipotles, and pour the dipping sauce into wide-mouth cups.
Serve the dipping sauce with thinly sliced roast beef sandwiches made with crusty bread or rolls.