Saturday, October 31, 2015

Briam

I love one dish meals with lots of vegetables. The countries of the Middle East and North Africa are a great source of such recipes, but this one hails from Greece, although Turkey may claim this recipe flavourful stew too.

Briam is a dish that is definitely more than the sum of its parts. It's basically sliced vegetables layered into a casserole dish with fresh dill, garlic, and salt and pepper, but the flavours meld together in a way that is hard to describe. The vegetables can be varied as can the herb. If you prefer to use basil, marjoram, or oregano, or something else, that would work too. But I think dill is the best, and I like to add crumbled feta to it to make it a complete meal.

This makes enough to serve 2-3 people, so double or triple it for more people. You may have to adjust the cooking time. The layers of vegetables should be 10 cm / 4 inches at most

Feel free to substitute vegetables, such as zucchini or sweet peppers for aubergine or sweet potato. Or use any vegetables that are in season. This is just my favourite combination.

1 medium potato, sliced to 1/2 cm
2 tomatoes, sliced to 1/2 cm
2 more tomatoes, skinned and crushed (or use some canned tomatoes)
1 medium onion, sliced to 1/2 cm
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 baby aubergine, slice to 1 cm
1 small sweet potato, sliced to 1/2 cm
2-3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water or tomato juice
100 trams of feta cheese, crumbled

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F
  2. In 2 litter casserole dish that is at least 4 inches high, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Spread all the sliced potato in the bottom. 
  4. Add half the sliced tomatoes, 1 sliced garlic clove, and a tablespoon of chopped dill. Season with some salt and pepper.
  5. Add a layer of 1/2 the eggplant slices, followed by half the sweet potato slices. Season with some salt and pepper.
  6. Repeat the layers of tomatoes, onions, garlic, dill, aubergine, and sweet potato, and seasoning. Tuck in the remaining garlic clove slices.
  7. Mix the crushed tomatoes with the remaining olive oil and the water, then pour over the vegetables.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, and then crumble the feta cheese over the top.
  9. Return to the oven and be for another 15-20 minutes. The vegetables should be completely done and tender.
  10. Serve with some good bread to sop up the juices, or with some rice.



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