In my adopted Sephardic tradition (as opposed to the Ashkenazic one I inherited), there are a number of vegetable dishes that begin with slowly-cooked onions and tomatoes, to which they later add rice (and on occasion, spinach and perhaps other vegetables). I’ve always liked these Greek/Turkish stewed vegetables, so when Barbara came home with some fresh Kale yesterday, I decided to create one of these dishes for dinner.
Here is a quick outline of the dish:
- cut two large onions into medium (3/4″) dice
- add one leek, cut across into 3/4″ chunks
- add two Tbs. olive oil to a large sauteuse pan
- cook onions and leek over medium heat until tender, adding salt as they cook
- chop one zucchine and four cremini mushrooms into 3/4″ dice, adding these to the pan, and cook for a few minutes
- add one 28-oz. can of high quality Italian San Marzano tomatoes, with their juices
- wash and chop several some kale leaves, stripped from the stalks
- simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, adding 1 cup of vegetable stock along the way
- separately boil some rice (I used a healthy blend of brown, red and wild rice, but any long grain rice will do fine), and cook until almost done
- add the rice to the vegetables, along with a small can of giant Greek beans in tomato sauce (about which I have written previously). Cook another 15-20 minutes.
- alternatively, you can add the uncooked rice directly to the stew, and then simmer it
- if you add the rice into the simmering vegetables to cook it, you may need to add more liquid
The table setting you see here was actually today’s lunch. I reheated the stew, and added some crumbled Greek sheep’s-milk feta cheese. Served with some pan-fried, homemade whole grain semolina bread and a glass of Jan D’Amore’s 2008 Polvanera Aglianico, the dish made me very happy, especially when surrounded by Barbara’s special handmade Hanukkah tablecloth and napkins. Happy last night of Hanukkah tonight!