Here are just a few of the foods I’ve made over the past weeks. Autumn season means hearty soups, stews and desserts made with local produce like apples, squash and beans.
When I cook, I like the food I make to have intense flavours so I often add lots of garlic, extra cinnamon or some canned Mexican chipotle peppers for flavour and kick.
Clockwise from top left: saucy Greek bean stew, aromatic Moroccan chickpea stew, smokey split pea bisque, intensely cinnamon apple-cherry pie.
Below is a recipe for a traditional Greek bean stew. There are many variations to this dish. Some folks add stewing beef but I’m keeping it meatless. This bean stew falls under the category of the “lathera” or oily vegetarian dishes popular in Greece. I’ve used heirloom green beans because they were local and plentiful this time of year but string beans are fine too.
saucy greek beans (makes 4 servings)
3 cups of fresh green beans, cleaned and chopped in half
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion diced
1/2 cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
1 cup water or veggie stock (more liquid may be needed)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 – 3 fresh tomatoes chopped, or 3 canned tomatoes or 1 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Warm the olive oil in a medium-sized pot and saute the onions until they are translucent. Add the water (or stock) to the pot and then add the potatoes. Allow the potatoes to cook for 10 minutes. Now add the green beans and the chopped tomatoes. Cover the pot and allow to simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. Check the water level in the pot as the beans and potatoes continue to cook. There should be at least an inch of liquid in the pot. Add more water if needed. You can also add the tomato paste at this point. Make sure it dissolves in the pot by giving everything a good stir.
Once the potatoes have softened (pierce with fork to check) and the green beans are also tender, add the chopped zucchini and the chopped dill and parsley. Allow everything in the pot to cook for 5 more minutes with the lid on. Remove from heat. Stir to incorporate and make sure that the potatoes and zucchini have softened. If desired, add a bit of salt and ground pepper to taste. Let the stew sit for a few minutes before serving to allow the flavours to mingle.
Ladle the bean stew into a bowl and eat with a crusty loaf of bread (great for sopping up all that tomato goodness). To make it authentic and even more Greek, add a small plate of Kalamata olives and some salty feta cheese to your table.
Note: This dish is quite versatile to make. Sometimes I add chopped carrots or chopped bell pepper instead of zucchini. I happen to like the addition of the potatoes in this stew but if you want to keep this low-carb you can skip the potatoes.