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Oven Baked Lemony Potatoes [Vegan]

Briam [Vegan]

Gemista [Vegan]

Oven Baked Lemony Potatoes

These are soooo yummy! A mix between roast and boiled potatoes and bursting with flavour.

Ingredients: About 2 lbs of red skinned potatoes, the juice of a large lemon, 2 garlic cloves, around 8fl oz of stock [chicken or vegetable], a large slug of olive oil, rigani, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. This should be enough to feed around 3-4 peeps.

Method: Peel the taters, cut them to the size you like and marinade them in the rest of the ingredients for a few hours. Do make sure you use red skinned or waxy potatoes, as the white skinned variety may well fall apart as you cook them!

Bake the taters with the marinade in a casserole dish in a moderate oven for around an hour to an hour and a half. I keep a lid on the casserole dish for the first 20 mins or so. The marinade should not dry out so check half way through and add some more liquid if it looks thirsty. The end result should be a soft potato that has some dry crispy edges – roasted, but not crunchy like the traditional British roast potato.

Double baked taters

In the unlikey event that you have some left over you can drizzle some olive oil on them and pop them back in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The result are the most amazing crispy potatoes with a lemony kick.

Briam

This dish is often referred to as a Greek rataouille but it is baked in the oven not cooked in the pan and has the addition of potatoes which do not appear in a rat. In Greece it is often served as a main course but works equally well as a side dish. There are many variants to the recipe, mine is based on the Briam that I enjoy in The Mani region of the Peloponnese.

Ingredients: To serve 4 peeps as a main and more as a side – One sliced courgette, one smallish sliced aubergine, a medium red onion sliced, a couple of cloves of garlic finely chopped, a few skinned and chopped ripe tomatoes, a couple of skinned and sliced waxy potatoes, a huge glug of Greek olive oil, finely chopped fresh parsley, salt and pepper, Optional: One sliced green pepper.

Method: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together carefully but thoroughly so the vegetables are well coated in the oil, tomatoes and seasoning. Shove it into a baking dish and cook in a medium hot oven covered in tin foil for around an hour. Then remove the foil and continue cooking for a further half an hour or so. Take it out of the oven and serve warm, not hot.

Gemista

The Greek word ‘Gemista’ means stuffing in English. The Gemista I love to eat in the Mani is lovely – olive oily, tomatoey and tasty and meatless. There are so many recipes for this dish. The best ones are a bit fiddly so I’ve tried to simplify the fiddly part as much as possible without compromising the end result. The good thing about this recipe is that it can all be prepared in advance, even the day before, and shoved in the oven when required.

For this recipe you need a medium grain glutinous rice. In Greece it’s called Glacé rice [see picture]. In England you will probably have to use Italian risotto rice. [Thank you Nikki for helping me here]

Ingredients: To stuff two peppers and two beefsteak tomatoes which should feed 2 peeps- 2 beefsteak tomatoes, 2 bell peppers, 120gms of risotto rice, one medium onion, half a courgette, half a carrot. 1 large garlic clove, 100ml of veg stock, a dash of white wine [not very authentic], a handful of finely chopped fresh herbs – parsley, mint, dill, a pinch of rigani, loads of pepper and salt, a large amount of Greek olive oil [don’t be frugal], 100ml water, a few red potatoes, optional – half a lemon.

Method: Turn the tomatoes upside down so they are sitting on their stalk end and slice off the tops and carefully spoon out their insides. Whizz the pulp for 2 seconds in a blender and then pop the mush into a bowl. Place the hollowed out tomatoes in a baking dish. Slice off the tops of the peppers and scoop out their insides too and place the hollowed out shell next to the tomatoes in the baking dish. Save any edible scooped out pepper in a seperate bowl. If the peppers are a bit wobbly very carefully slice a little bit off their bottoms so they stop wobbling. You need the courgette, carrot, onion and garlic to be finely chopped – you can do that by hand or do what I do which is place it in the blender with the pepper bits you have reserved and pulse the mixture for about 5 seconds. Don’t overdo it, you don’t want it reduced to a pulp.

In a deep frying pan or saucepan add a generous amount of olive oil and throw in the vegetable mixture [not the tomato pulp] and gently saute with some ground black pepper and a dash of salt for about 5 minutes or so until they start to turn brown. Stir in the rice and make sure it is nicely coated in oil and then pour in the white wine and let it all bubble for a minute. Pour in the stock and tomato pulp with a squirt of tomato puree and give it a nice stir and let it simmer for around 5 minutes. Stir in the herbs, taste the mixture and adjust seasoning as required, [the stock may be salty, so be careful!]. Roughly peel the potatoes, cut them into wedges and add them around the peppers and tomatoes in the baking dish. Drizzle more oil over the potatoes, tomatoes and peppers and then carefully scoop in the rice/veg mixture. Do not overfill them as the rice will expand. You should have some spare tomato/veg filling which you can spoon over the potatoes in the baking dish. Add about 100ml of water to the used frying pan and squeeze in the lemon juice and give it a swirl and then add it to the baking dish. PHEW ! It sounds exaustifying I know, but it’s not as bad as it seems. Finally, cover the baking dish with foil and bake in a low to moderate oven for around 1-1.5 hours. Remove the foil and continue to cook for another 15 minutes or until the peppers and tomatoes are soft and charred. Turn off the oven and serve warm, not hot.

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