Gamopilafo - Goat meat and turkey/rooster with rice

Gamopilafo - Goat meat and turkey/rooster with rice

Gamopilafo, which means “rice of the wedding”, describes a traditional Chania dish traditionally offered in many regions of Crete as the primary dish of the wedding feast, consisting of meat and poultry accompanied by rice cooked in the meat broth.

It is a key feature at traditional weddings – as it emphasizes the hosting family's fertility and wealth by using rice, meat and poultry at the same time. Gamopilafo also makes an appearance at village feasts and many family celebrations.

The meat used in Gamopilafo is traditionally goat and rooster, but lamb and turkey or chicken can also be used as substitutes. It is a simple and minimal recipe, avoiding the use of too many or overly complicated ingredients. Its flavor and taste rely especially on the high quality of the meat (fresh and local) and on the aroma of the butter used (traditionally home-made goat-milk butter).

Servings: 8
Time: 3 hours
Degree of Difficulty: Easy

Recipe ingredients:

  • 1 kilo goat meat or lamb
  • 1 turkey or chicken (1 ½ kilo)
  • 2 big cups of rice (as used for risotto – preferably the Arborio type)
  • 2 tbsp of goat butter (if unavailable, use the best butter you can find)
  • ½ cup of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper


Wash the meats well and boil them together for about 2 hours on low heat in a large pot or casserole dish with sufficient water to cover the meat throughout. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and pepper as well as some oil at the beginning.

Once cooked, remove the meat, add some more salt and pepper, and put it on a serving dish.

Strain the broth

Plan ahead to have about three times as much liquid as rice.

Reduce the heat to medium; put the drained broth (6 cups) in the pot again. Pour in the rice (2 cups) and stir, to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir constantly for about 15-20 minutes until the mixture has become even. Add ½ cup of lemon juice not long before the rice is cooked.

Next, brown the butter in a small pan. Remove the pot of rice from the heat and pour the hot butter over it. Cover the pot with a towel and let it rest for 5-8 minutes.

Put the rice in the serving dish along with the meat.

Your gamopilafo is ready. Enjoy!


  1. If you want accompany pilaf with yogurt.
  2. It is worth noting that we do not add herbs to boiling meat, as the tradition wishes to 'speak' to the mouth and nose the authentic taste and smell of good quality meats.