Store Cupboard Briam: A Tasty Greek-Style Roasted Vegetable Stew
What Is Briam?
Briam is a vegan hearty Greek dish of roasted vegetables, wine and herbs. The traditional version contains aubergine (eggplant), courgette (zucchini), tomatoes, creamy potatoes, wine and herbs.
Roasted vegetable dishes exist in lots of countries, the most famous of which is France's ratatouille. Indeed, 'Greek ratatouille' is used a lot to describe this version.
Despite visiting Greece a couple of times, I've never actually tried the real thing. It is on my list of dishes to try on my next visit, but until then I shall have to satisfy myself with the recipes I see on TV and in books. For this recipe, my inspiration has come from a version I saw on the British TV program, Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes. The recipe on the show was from Tomas Siriotis's restaurant in the village of Perithia in the mountains of Corfu. I followed the recipe, which you can find here, and can confirm that it is incredibly tasty. After trying it, I am all aboard the briam train and find myself preferring it to ratatouille. The addition of potatoes adds a creamy richness that is lacking in its French counterpart.
How I Came Up With This Recipe
This is not an authentic Greek recipe. But it is as close to the real thing as I can get with a few cans and a glug of leftover red wine. It is full to the brim with vegetables, comforting, indulgent and delicious.
As I sit here writing this recipe, the world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The need to self-isolate has led to stockpiling, which in turn has led to food shortages. But before all the food flew off the supermarket shelves, I was lucky enough to pick up a few cans of ratatouille and tinned potatoes. I also had around one small glass of red wine left over (miraculously), a single leftover red pepper and a jar of mixed herbs already in my cupboard.
The dish is delightful in its simplicity. It takes less time to cook than traditional briam, requiring just an hour of cooking time. Just empty a couple of cans into a baking dish, and add a couple of spoons of garlic powder and herbs, and a glug of wine and oil. Then stick it in the oven for an hour and bish, bash, bosh—a vibrant stew of tasty vegetables.
It is a rich and decadent, yet extremely healthy meal and packed with vitamins. I have kept this recipe simple with as few ingredients as possible. But the beauty of this dish is that you can add the herbs and spices that you like, or that you have in your pantry. You can also use red instead of white wine if that is what you have, or omit it altogether.
This recipe produces two small, but filling, portions. It's the perfect recipe for a warm summer's evening, or a cold winter night when you want to curl up in front of the TV and eat something comforting. Butter beans or chickpeas make a great addition if you want this dish to go further. It makes a truly delicious lunch or side dish. Alternatively, you can serve it as a main meal with sides like garlic bread or polenta mash.
- 1 (360 gram / 12.7 oz) can ratatouille
- 1/2 (560 gram / 19.7 oz) can tinned potatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 125 millileters red wine, or what you have left over
- Approximately 100 grams / 3.5 oz leftover vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, or spinach
- Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celcius / 392 Fahrenheit.
- Open your tinned potatoes. Wash and drain them, chopping the larger ones in half so all potatoes are roughly the same size.
- Place your potatoes in a small baking tin. I used a 22cm tin.
- Add ratatouille, wine, garlic powder, herbs, olive oil, and extra vegetables to your baking tin and mix, ensuring that all ingredients are well distributed.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes until the potatoes are slightly browned, and the sauce has caramelized.
- Serve it hot straight from the oven or as a tasty cold dish.
You can eat this healthy, comforting meal as a side dish. But I prefer it eaten as a main served bubbling at the table with some crusty bread, polenta mash, olives and a glass of wine.
More Store Cupboard Recipes
Questions & Answers
© 2020 Kathryn Worthington