Soufiko, Greek Vegetable Stew
Soufiko is a vegetable stew from the Greek island of Ikaria in the Aegean Sea. The people on this island are known for their simple and long lives. Their mostly plant-based diet, stress-free, and energetic lifestyle yield amazing longevity. Wistfully, this is a lifestyle that most would love to live. Let this recreation of soufiko transport you to the sunny aqua shores and craggy hilltops for a moment's pleasure!
Here, liberty has been taken, transforming several Greek versions of this dish into one that may work for those with a slightly busier lifestyle. Double and make on the weekend, to enjoy a room temperature lunch at work. Purposefully, this otherwise summer dish is being created in the wet and dark Northwest winter. Some of the traditional ingredients like petimezi (grape molasses) are difficult to find here, so substitutes have been made. Also, to increase the protein content for vegans and vegetarians, garbanzo beans are included. However, leaving them out is perfectly fine and more authentic. As with most Mediterranean dishes, this is best served warm or at room temperature. Let the colors, fragrant herbs and vegetables slowly transport you to a mindfully enjoyable experience.
4 entrée servings
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled, halved, sliced crosswise
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 medium eggplant, cut into ¼-inch batons
1 red pepper, cut into ¼-inch batons
1 green pepper, cut into ¼-inch batons
1 yellow pepper, cut into ¼-inch batons
1 large zucchini, cut into ¼-inch batons
3 Roma tomatoes, peeled, halved, cut into ¼ -inch wedges lengthwise with juice
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup dry white wine
1 can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or reduced balsamic vinegar*
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 small bunch mint, torn into ½ -inch pieces, thick stems removed
1 small bunch parsley, torn into ½ -inch pieces, thick stems removed
6 short sprigs oregano leaves removed from stems
1. In a non-reactive sauce pot over low heat add the olive oil followed by the onions. Stir until translucent, about eight minutes.
2. Add the vegetables in layers, starting with the garlic, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes. Stir gently to coat with olive oil. Add the bay leaves, one teaspoon sea salt, and wine. Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid.
3. Cook for about twenty minutes or until all the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in the garbanzo beans and pomegranate molasses. Top with the mint, parsley, and oregano. Cover and simmer for ten minutes. Uncover and remove from the heat.
5. Taste, Think, Transform with fresh ground pepper and/or salt. Serve warm or at room temperature with a crusty piece of whole grain bread.
*If using balsamic vinegar in place of the pomegranate molasses, reduce two tablespoons down to one tablespoon or until syrupy before adding to the pot.