This recipe is adapted from a traditional Greek recipe my mother makes often. If you are familiar with Greek food, you will know that their vegetables dishes are cooked with plenty of olive oil (‘lathera’ dishes in Greek means ‘cooked with oil’) and cooked for a long time.
If you are using frozen peas, you can pretty much expect that the peas are packaged fresh and in peak season so you are still getting a sweet tasting pea. The peas are then cooked with onions, potatoes, carrots, dill, olive oil and my own added ingredient – butter. These are all cooked together, long and slow, to the point where the peas wrinkle and the potatoes and carrots go soft, much softer than you’d expect. The lengthy cooking time further enhances the sweetness of the peas.
Fresh dill is added towards the end of the cooking process. The reason for this is to maintain the fresh cut dill aroma. It tempers the sweetness of the peas with an herbal and earthy note.
The final ingredient is the butter. It adds a creamy silkiness, which coats the peas tenderly like a gentle massage. That familiar scent of butter is therapeutic and relaxing. It satisfies our inner child. It makes this dish complete.
The juices that gather at the bottom of the pot are meant to be consumed. A delicious warm, sweet and fragrant dipping bath to be absorbed with chunks of bread. If this weren’t enough, feta cheese is the perfect contrasting accompaniment to the sweetly stewed peas. It hits the perfect balance of sweet and salty. Vegetables never tasted so good.
Greek-style peas with carrots and dill (makes 4 side servings)
4 tbs olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 spring onions, chopped
3 cups frozen peas
3/4 cup water
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs fresh dill
2 tbs butter
1) In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sautè the onion and spring onion until translucent. Do not brown. Add the frozen peas and water. Stir and allow pot to simmer for 5 minutes.
2) Place the carrots and potatoes in the pot and allow the pot to continue simmering on medium heat for 10 minutes. When potatoes and carrots are al dente add the canned tomatoes and salt. Stir thoroughly to combine. Bring to boil for 5 minutes, then lower heat.
3) Cook partially covered for approximately 15 minutes, until peas, carrots and potato are even softer.
4) Add the dill and remove the pot from the heat. Add butter. Stir. Replace lid and let stand for 5 minutes.