Soufico, One-pot Vegetable Stew
Makes 6 to 8 servings Soufico is one of the “national” dishes of Ikaria, an island (not a nation!), in the northeastern Aegean that also happens to be where my family roots are. It is one of many dishes throughout Greece and throughout the Mediterranean at large that call for the same medley of summer vegetables, anchored by eggplant, the fleshiest and most filling of all of them. This is my friend Eleni’s version. It is one of the simplest and most delicious I’ve ever tried. To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
- 2 medium eggplants about 8 inches / 20 cm long, trimmed
- 3 medium potatoes peeled
- 3 large zucchini about 8 inches / 20 cm long, trimmed
- 3 green bell peppers seeded and cut into 1-inch/2-cm-wide strips
- 2 large onions coarsely chopped
- ½ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil and more as needed
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 4 large fresh tomatoes peeled
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons petimezi optional
- 6 to 8 fresh large basil leaves coarsely chopped
- ⅔ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 5 fresh oregano sprigs
- 3 to 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
Cut the eggplant in half across its width then cut each half into rectangular pieces, about 3/4-inch/1 1/2-cm wide and 2 ½ inches/6 ¼-cm long. Set aside. Cut the potatoes and zucchini to the same size rectangles.
Place the onions in a wide, shallow pot or deep frying pan and cook over low heat, sprinkling with a little salt, until they begin to soften. Add the olive oil and continue cooking the onion until translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic. Add the eggplant pieces and stir gently. Add the potatoes and stir. Next, add the peppers and stir. And, finally, gently stir in the zucchini strips. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Using a small, sharp paring knife and holding the tomatoes, one at a time, in one hand over the pot, cut into small chunks and drop into the vegetables. Add the wine. When it steams up, stir in the bay leaves. Lower heat to low, cover the pot and let the vegetables simmer for about 25 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the petimezi, if using. Add the basil, parsley, oregano, and thyme, cover and continue cooking over low heat another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.