Greek-Inspired Pitas

What comes to mind when Ancient Greece is mentioned? Could it be the Olympic games, tales of Hercules or maybe famous philosophers? Did you know that hunting and wildlife management were important parts of the ancient Greek culture? Hunting was undertaken for sport, to provide food and for protection of livestock and was of great social importance.

Greek philosophers Xenophon of Athens and Arrian of Nicomedia wrote ancient treatises including the Cynegeticus, which were handbooks that gave advice on sport hunting and hunting tactics and discussed sportsmanlike conduct. Many Greek potentates set aside private hunting or wildlife preserves and protected them from poachers. Also supporting this theme of sportsmanlike conduct in hunting, the Greek goddess Artemis was both the goddess of the hunt and also protection of wildlife and wilderness.

Most of us will probably never hunt with javelins or nets described by Xenophon, but we can all promote sportsmanlike conduct and possibly try this Greek-inspired pita dish with our harvests.


  • 1 pound ground venison or other game meat
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 15oz. can drained low sodium garbanzo beans
  • 1 15 oz. can low sodium petite diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup Malbec or other dry red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh crushed oregano
  • ½ tablespoon fresh crushed thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed mint
  • ½ teaspoon dried crushed marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup fresh torn mint
  • 1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced cucumbers
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 package pita sandwich pockets


Brown venison and cook onion until translucent. Add venison, onion, beans, canned tomatoes, Malbec, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, thyme, crushed mint, marjoram and salt to a crockpot. Cook on low for up to 8 hours. Remove bay leaves. Spoon drained mixture into pita pockets and top to taste with feta, diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers and torn mint. Serve with hummus and carrot sticks.

Department photo by James Pitman.

About James Pitman

James Pitman is the Chief of the Information and Education Division for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.