I made this briami last week while I was up the coast for a wet and wild week away. Despite the rain, we still managed to have a great holiday catching up with family and friends. We enjoyed a few sunny patches and our last full day was miraculously sunny (though too cold for swimming) but for the most part, we bunkered down with a few wet drives and short drizzle-filled walks up to scenic look-outs. The cafes and the one cinema in town were packed with refugee holidaymakers making the most of their holidays by getting out of the house and going anywhere they could stay warm and dry.
Last year when we were on holidays at this time of year, we cooked nearly everything on the barbecue but there’s nothing like some stiff southerly winds and sideways rain to make firing up the barbecue an unattractive prospect, so this oven baked casserole came into its own. Served with feta and some sauted green beans and asparagus, this briami made a delicious and satisfying meal on its own but it was also a great side served with the slow-roasted lamb for the meat eaters.
The ingredient list is simple and adaptable to holiday house cooking. It was even a surprise hit with my ten-year-old niece who declared it to be ‘epic’ and had a large serve of seconds. Double the recipe if you can, because this briami is even more epic the next day when the flavors meld and deepen.
Briami: Greek vegetable casserole
Adapted from The Complete Middle East Cookbook by Tess Mallos
- 1 eggplant (about 500 grams)
- 3 medium potatoes (about 500 grams)
- 4 zucchinis (courgettes)
- 2 green sweet peppers
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- 2 onions sliced
- 2 cups chopped, peeled tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill (fresh thyme or dried oregano and dried mint also work)
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- chopped parsley, dill or fennel to garnish
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F), or 160°C fan-forced.
- Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until softened.
- Chop zucchini and eggplant into 1 cm (½ inch) slices. Slice potatoes in half and slice in 1 cm slices.
- Oil an oven dish (about is a good size), place some sauted onions on base, then place a layer vegetables on top. Sprinkle with the chopped tomatoes, a pinch of sugar, salt, black pepper, parsley and whatever other herbs you are using. Layer with the rest of the onion then vegetables and tomatoes, Sprinkle more olive oil, ¼ cup water, herbs, salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook for 1½ to 2 hours until vegetables are tender. Bake uncovered for 15–30 minutes until vegetables are collapsed and completely tender. Garnish with fresh herbs allow to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.