Hearty, warming vegetable stew, perfect for those cooler nights. Warm and intoxicating tomato stew with potatoes, zucchini and melt-in-your-mouth bites of eggplant. Usually served with a nice loaf of bread, ripped through and dunked generously into the delectable sauce.
This stew traditionally consists of aubergines, zucchini, yellow potatoes, ochra and beans. The vegetables in Southern Greece, all frequent every farmers vegetable yield in summer. I don’t recall a summer where ochra, eggplant, and zucchini would not make an ever prevalent presence.
The dish came into being as the last of the yield of the summer crops – in autumn were all cooked together to make a wholesome filling dish for the family. Its traditional name is ‘Καπαμα’ , pronounced ‘ka-pa-ma’ and is synonymous to the Mediterranean diet. You will find variations of this dish that also include beef or lamb. It frequents my dinner table in those cooler evenings with unashamedly large chunks of bread dunked into the thick casserole sauce. In fact, my son will crumb feta and sprinkle over the top, wait patiently for the feta cheese to soften in the warmth of the vegetables and then eat.
I have many memories of eating this dish as a child after following my parents tending to farms, olives, and their vegetable garden. Returning home with a box full of home grown produce wasn’t foreign and seemed like something everyone did. It was a frequent if not daily occurrence. Fresh parsley, garlic are paramount as they all contribute significantly to the flavour. Good quality tinned tomatoes are recommended. Mutti Polpa tomatoes have that freshness that no other brand is able to duplicate.
This recipe does not contain ochra, , but for authenticity you may wan’t to include. If you do, add it along with the beans.
- 3 medium zucchinis
- 3 lebanese eggplants or 1 medium eggplant
- 400g beans
- 1 red onion - medium
- 1 whole garlic bulb - yes all the cloves
- 1 red ripe medium tomato
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 250g Mutti Parma Tomato Polpa
- 1/4 cup pure olive oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley ( not dried )
- 3-4 cups hot water ( added gradually )
Cut all your vegetables approximately the same size.
Cut the onion in four. If you think it is too large, don't worry it will fall apart during cooking. For the garlic trim the skin and leave whole. Remove the ends from the zucchini and eggplant and cut into 2 cm wide pieces. Try to keep all your vegetables the same size.
The beans should only have their ends trimmed.
Add the oil into a large casserole dish. Brown the onion, potato, garlic for 1 minute. Stir the potato and garlic when it has browned and formed a golden crust. Then add Zucchini and eggplant. Don't stir straight away, stir in intervals. The aim here is for a nice golden hue where the outer surface will be firm .Try not to stir too much, as they are browning you will find they will turn into mushy consistency.
Add tomato paste, chopped fresh tomato and passata. Stir through the Vegetables and allow to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.after the first 10 minutes add the beans. The beans don't take as long to cook which is why we wait a little before we add to the casserole
Add 2 cups water every 10 minutes, check the fluid level and add an extra cup of water.
Keep the lid on while the Vegetables are cooking. Add spices and half of the parsley.
To check whether the meal is cooked pierce a potato with a fork if it's soft and holds absolutely no resistance it is ready. Any firmness to the potatoes must be absent. The potato always takes the longest to cook.
This should be a approximately 35-40 minutes in a medium to low heat with the lid on. Ensure your liquids have not evaporated by adding hot water at intervals. The garlic is important to the flavour of the dish so try not to cut back.
If you have never used a cinnamon stick before then give it a go, it gives off a flavour different to cinnamon powder. Remove the stick when cooking is complete.
Allow the stew to rest with the lid on and heat off. The vegetables will steam and have time to develop their flavour. At the end of your cooking time the vegetables should be tender soft, the sauce should be reduced but plenty of thick sauce ready to be mopped with a nice crusty piece of bread.
Sprinkle with parsley, and a dash of crumbed feta ( optional ).
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 314 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 312mg Carbohydrates: 55g Fiber: 15g Sugar: 22g Protein: 9g
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A flavourful casserole dish, that we eat at home all the time. You have reproduced this traditional dish well.