Peas in a Pot with Fennel, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Mussels


Peas--arakas in Greek--cooked with olive oil, tomatoes, and herbs are one of the great "Ladera" dishes. These are the dishes cooked in olive oil and they account for a great number of Lenten specialties. Most often they are one-pot stews. I have added a little twist to this classic, by combining the peas with mussels. If you have leftover steamed mussels, you can just toss them in here.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek trimmed, washed, and cut into thin slices
  • 1 fennel bulb trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 cups frozen or fresh shelled peas
  • 1/3 cup ouzo or white wine
  • 6 to 8 sun-dried tomatoes soaked to soften, drained, and cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. dried mint or basil
  • 12 to 18 mussels cleaned, steamed and removed from their shell (You can follow the recipe for steamed mussels to do this or just steam them in a little wine and water)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Heat half the oil in wide pot over medium heat and cook the leek and fennel until soft, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds.
  2. Add the peas, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, ouzo or wine and enough water to come about halfway up the contents of the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and let the peas simmer for about 30 minutes, or until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Stir in the mint or basil and mussels. Simmer all together for about 5 minutes and then stir in the lemon zest. This dish begs for great bread and, if you’re not fasting or not a vegan, a side of creamy feta cheese.

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