Greek Stewed Vegetables

Greek Stewed Vegetables

Given the sickness and the unbelievably addictive brown butter noodles and the curried chicken pot pie and the rainbow cookies, it’s been a carb-heavy month. Fruits and vegetables wallowed near the bottom of my priority list (hangs head in shame). No surprise, now I’m craving them—specifically, the silky, long-simmered vegetables found in the Greek restaurants of Astoria, my old stomping grounds.

Eggplant, of course, and zucchini. Sweet bell peppers and carrots, onion and chunks of potato, all tossed in a Dutch oven with substantial amounts of olive oil and oregano, then baked for most of an afternoon. (Which means that, once the chopping’s done, this is one of those super-easy recipes we all love. Do the chopping during baby’s morning nap, and it’s even a Nap-Friendly Recipe.) By the time the pot emerges from the oven the juices have mingled and condensed, and the vegetables are soft enough to eat with a spoon. No crisp-tender here, thank you very much: Think vegetables as comfort food.

Topped with a bright squeeze of lemon juice and a crumble of salty feta, Greek Stewed Vegetables are velvety redemption.

Greek Stewed Vegetables
Serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, cut into thick half-moons
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into large chunks
1 large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium-large eggplant, unpeeled, cut into chunks
2 medium zucchini, cut into thick slices
4 cloves garlic, chopped
salt & pepper
1 cup low-sodium broth or water
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
4 to 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Cooked rice, for serving (as long as you’re using the oven, make a batch of Baked White Rice)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat.  When it shimmers add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining vegetables and salt and pepper to taste; stir to coat with oil. Cook until they just begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth or water, parsley, and oregano, cover, and transfer to the oven.
  3. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until vegetables are meltingly soft. Check at the 90-minute point, and add a splash of boiling water if the pan looks dry. (If you’re making Baked White Rice, that’s also when you should slip it into the oven.)

MAKE BABY FOOD: Yes. Oh yes. These vegetables come out so soft, they barely need to be pureed. Go easy on the feta with infants, as it can be quite salty.