When I first went veg, I went to all my favourite recipe sites and typed in “vegetarian”, then hit the search button. I tried so many new flavours, new ingredient combinations, and so many more recipes than I had ever thought existed. Suddenly a whole new world opened to me – and one of those worlds was cuisines from other cultures who took vegetables pretty damn seriously.
So seriously that their vegetables were unlike anything I had ever tasted before. Take this Greek vegetable stew recipe for example – it’s not just roast vegetables, people (although they are my favourite!), it’s a mix of slowly braised/roasted veg with loads of garlic, onion, herbs and lemon, cooked for hours until it melds into a delectable, sweet, flavoursome (dare I say unctuous? weird word, but it’s perfect) mix of soft, crispy, chewy vegetable stew-like deliciousness.
Lookit! Pass me the feta. squeeze of lemon, and crusty bread, stat.
Bread going straight into those herby, lemony, olive oil juiciness.
Briami (Greek Vegetable Stew) Recipe
I mix a bunch of vegetables that I have on hand – 5 or so potatoes, plenty of zucchini, a couple of chopped tomatoes, a couple of chopped onions, (carrot in this one although not totally legit), some green capsicum, and five cloves of garlic, sliced. Chuck in a couple of wedges of lemon, halved. I add cubes of haloumi at the end and allow to get soft.
Cover with a teaspoon of dried oregano, and a teaspoon of dried mint. Add salt and pepper.
Add 1/2 cup olive oil, and 1/4 cup water. Toss to mix.
Bake on about 150C for a couple of hours (I did three) and stir occasionally. As the original recipe says “NOTHING crisp-tender going on here – just meltingly, comfortingly, deliciously tender.”