Briam – a Greek version of baked mediteranean vegetables. Delicious!

28 Apr

There are a host of recipes for roasting vegetables and most Mediterranean countries have their own speciality.  Briam is Greece’s offering to the mix.  It is unusual in that the vegetables cook slowly so that the tomatoes melt down and combine with the olive oil and onions to make a delicious sauce.  I have made this dish many times, we love it so much. It is hard to believe just how easy it is and yet pack such a punch with the flavours.  Whenever we go abroad, no matter where it is, we invariably have this to accompany a meal at least once and it is great to have with friends as all the cooking and preparing can be done well in advance. It is also a great dish to have in the winter, the flavours reminding you of the summer just gone and the promise of one to come.

Volumes have been written about the Greek diet and, before that, the Cretan diet. Based on a healthy lifestyle, the Greek diet makes the best use of natural and organic ingredients cooked without a heavy reliance on saturated fats and processed foodsTraditional Greek cooking grew out of a rural lifestyle lived by people who were poor in the economic sense, but wealthy in imagination and creativity. A few basic guidelines ensure that Greek foods are at their very best in taste, nutrition, and economy.

  • Seasonal: Keep it Fresh – most Greeks shop daily and use whatever meat and vegetables that are in season.
  • Scratch: Start at the Beginning – Greek food is made from scratch, rarely using comercially made ingredients.
  • Simple: Fabulous Taste with Time-tested Methods – Greeks love to keep their food simple so that the flavours of the meat and vegetables are enhanced by herbs and spices rather than the latter taking over.
  • Slow: Don’t Rush It – for generations food has been cooked slowly in Greece and the aromas during cooking evokes memories of their mothers cooking and their Grandmothers before her.

The vegetables are cooking slowly in the oven and the smell is absolutely divine.  Here is the recipe.

Briam                                                                       Serves 4

  • 3 fl oz olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 red onions quartered
  • 4 medium-sized waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced into thick rings
  • 2 medium or 3 small courgettes, cut into 1/2in chunks
  • 4 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into rings
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into rings
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 120ml/4 fl oz boiled water
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/Gas 4.  Heat 2 tbsp. of the oil in a frying pan and fry the sliced onion over a low heat until it is softened but has not turned colour.  Should take about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
  2. Combine all the other vegetables, garlic, herbs and seasoning with the onions, in a large shallow ovenproof dish.  Add the water and drizzle with the remaining oil, toss well then cook for about 2 hours until the vegetables are tender and cooked through.  Turn them about every half an hour throughout this process.  When cooked remove from the oven and keep warm.  (These are best served warm rather than hot and can even be served cold the next day with a slice of feta cheese for lunch)

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: