Hearty, warming greek vegetable stew, perfect for those cooler nights. Warm and intoxicating tomato stew with potatoes, zucchini, melt-in-your-mouth bites of eggplant, zucchini and potatoes. Usually served with your favourite loaf of bread, ripped through and dunked generously into the delectable sauce.
This stew traditionally consists of aubergines, zucchini, yellow potatoes, okra and beans. The vegetable yield in Southern Greece during summer is phenomenal with ochre, eggplant, and zucchini an-ever prevalent presence in their seasonal cuisine.
We call this dish ‘ καπαμας ‘ or ‘τουρλου‘ depending on which area of Greece you are. This wonderful dish of ‘ Tourlou ‘ or ‘ Kapama ‘ takes full advantage of the plentiful produce. One of the reasons the Greek Mediterranean diet is so healthy is that they have made good use of a wide variety of vegetables in their dishes and this is done in an interesting way, which means you are more likely to consume them frequently and consistently. So if you need to increase your vegetable consumption, something that is encouraged in the Mediterranean diet, then adding dishes like this ‘ καπαμας ‘ or chickpea and bean stew or ‘γεμιστα’ – stuffed vegetables or papoutsakia ( to name just a few ) would be a way more interesting and flavourful way to do so.
This dish traditionally 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’.
You will find variations of this dish also may include beef or lamb. The beef or lamb would be gently simmered until pull-apart in texture and finally, the vegetables added and cooked for the last half hour of cooking.
For me, this dish 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 wholeheartedly.
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 homegrown produce wasn’t foreign and seemed like something everyone participated in.
It was a frequent if not daily occurrence. Fresh parsley and plentiful garlic are paramount as they both contribute significantly to the flavour. Good quality tinned tomatoes are recommended.
This recipe does not contain ochre or the garden beans, but for authenticity, you may want to include. If you do, add it along with the beans.
A warm and intoxicating dish of slowly simmered vegetables, potatoes, zucchini and melt-in-your-mouth eggplant are slowly simmered in a garlic and spice infused tomato sauce.
- 3 medium zucchinis
- 3 lebanese eggplants or 1 medium eggplant
- 200g edamame beans (optional)
- 1 red onion - medium
- 1 whole garlic bulb - yes all the cloves
- 1 teaspoon 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 into 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 browned to a golden colour.
Add the 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.
Add tomato paste and passata. Stir through the Vegetables and allow to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
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.
In the last five minutes add the Edamame beans and cover again with the lid.
The total cooking time should be 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.
If you add water near the end of the cooking time, simmer low until it thickens again.
Sprinkle with parsley, and a dash of crumbed feta ( optional ).
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 314Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 312mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 15gSugar: 22gProtein: 9g
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A flavourful casserole dish, that we eat at home all the time. You have reproduced this traditional dish well.