Papucaki

Papucaki

Papucaki is a Greek word meaning “small slippers”.  This is another traditional Greek recipe that I learned many years ago from my aunt, whose husband is Greek.  Like her recipe for Greek Green Beans, which I shared a couple of weeks ago, this one is simple, focusing on 3 main ingredients.  I find that the key to success for making recipes with few ingredients is to use the best quality available to you, and if the recipe involves produce, to use items that are in-season.

To make papucaki, you only need tomatoes, onions and eggplants.  It sounds simple, but the flavor of the final dish evokes complexity.  The elements work so well together that the product is more than the sum of its parts.  So go ahead and give it a try!

eggplant

tomatoes and onions

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tomatoes and onions

Papucaki

Papucaki

Print Recipe
Papucaki
This is a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth dish that can stand on its own for dinner. Depending on your appetite, 2 large eggplants will be enough to satisfy a family of 4. However, sometimes I will serve this dish with a salad or rice on the side to satisfy everyone’s preferences.
Papucaki
Servings
Ingredients
  • 4 small eggplants or 2 large eggplants
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 onions sliced
  • 4– 6 tomatoes depending on their size, chopped
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Servings
Ingredients
  • 4 small eggplants or 2 large eggplants
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 onions sliced
  • 4– 6 tomatoes depending on their size, chopped
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Papucaki
Instructions
  1. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, salt and place upside down in a colander for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.
  3. Rinse the eggplant and scoop out the flesh to create a hollow that can then be filled. Reserve the flesh that is scooped out. (Don’t forget this step, like I did. It’s messy if you do!)
  4. Liberally brush the eggplant with oil and place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, until soft throughout. Pierced with a fork, it should offer no resistance.
  6. While the eggplant is baking, heat the remaining oil in a skillet on medium heat and fry onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook to mixture for 5 more minutes.
  7. Once the eggplants are cooked, remove them from the oven and evenly divide the filling among the eggplants. Into the now empty skillet, add the vegetable stock and scrape up any remaining and stuck bits, then spoon the liquid over the eggplants.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot.


Black Bean and Green Tomato Chili (Vegan)

Black Bean and Green Tomato Chili (Vegan)

The first chili of the season is always such a treat. Using the last of our farm‘s tomatoes, it’s warming on a cool autumn evening.  It serves as a sweet reminder that it’s time to say goodbye to summer, with windows open day and night, and the warm sun, and a welcoming yet cautious hello to colder temperatures, with cozy warmth  and hearty winter soups inside.

This recipe is simple, and I have made it many times.  It started when one day I was determined to make a chili, but did not have any peppers on hand and substituted green tomatoes.  It was a big hit and Black Bean and Green Tomato chili became a fall staple for us (I still add peppers when I have them on hand).  Another reason to head out into the fields and pick a few more green tomatoes off the vines.

 

green tomatoes

Black Bean and Green Tomato Chili (Vegan)

Black Bean and Green Tomato Chili (Vegan)

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Greek Green Beans with Potatoes in Tomato Stew

Greek Green Beans with Potatoes in Tomato Stew

In the early fall, when for a few weeks tomatoes, potatoes, and green beans overlap at our farm, I always make this recipe.  It contains nothing but those vegetables, plus an onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  It makes a stand-alone dinner that is stew-like and hearty (thanks to all that olive oil, see recipe below). It can be served warm on a cold day and cold on a warm day. And when you make it, you will definitely want some bread on hand to sop up the last remaining juices in your bowl.

I learned this recipe from my aunt, whose husband is Greek, but my online research yielded Turkish versions of it.  And, while discussing my dinner plans with a neighbor of Lebanese descent, the neighbor said she grew up eating this meal as well, and she thought of it as Lebanese.  The recipe seems to be a tradition in countries surrounding the western Mediterranean sea.  The variations are minor, such as adding lamb or chicken, adding spices, with the basic recipe remaining the same across the region.

Interestingly, both the potato and tomato are of South and Central American descent where they have been cultivated for at least 2500 years (in the case of potatoes, 8000 years; McGee, Smith).  They did not spread to other areas of the world until after the 1500’s, when the Spanish colonized the Americas.  Once they started being cultivated in Western Europe, tomatoes took to the climate around the Mediterranean so well that they became a staple in many cuisines.

 

vegetables

green beans

Greek Green Beans with Potatoes in Tomato Stew

Greek Green Beans with Potatoes in Tomato Stew

Greek Green Beans with Potatoes in Tomato Stew

Print Recipe
Greek Green Beans with Potatoes in Tomato Stew
This recipe takes an hour from start to finish. However, active working time is about 20 minutes. The rest of the time is cooking time, and with the anticipation of a cozy meal boiling away at the stove on everyone’s mind, I find it to be a great time to sit with the kids and do homework or relax.
Greek Green Beans with Potatoes in Tomato Stew
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 lb green beans ends removed and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • ¾ cup olive oil that’s not a typo!
  • 1 lb potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 lb tomatoes diced
  • A handful fresh parsley chopped (optional)
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 lb green beans ends removed and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • ¾ cup olive oil that’s not a typo!
  • 1 lb potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 lb tomatoes diced
  • A handful fresh parsley chopped (optional)
Greek Green Beans with Potatoes in Tomato Stew
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, lightly brown the onions. Add the remaining ingredients and stir.
  2. Bring everything to a boil. Then cover and simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes are done.
  3. Serve either hot or cold, with bread on the side.