N. Greek Spinach & Chard Stew / Bonamatsi
Bonamatsi is one of the great regional vegetarian and vegan main courses that call for greens. This is healthy food with amazing flavor! If you have some real Greek olive oil on hand with which to dress it, all the better. TO find some, go to my online store here.
- 160 ml extra-virgin Greek olive oil plus extra for drizzling
- 1 large red onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 8 to 10 small potatoes preferably new, peeled and left whole
- 3 large firm ripe tomatoes, grated or finely chopped, with their juice
- Salt and pepper
- 2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried
- 1 lb/455 g young spinach trimmed, washed, spun dry,
- and coarsely chopped
- 1 lb. Chard trimmed, washed, spun dry, stems trimmed and chopped separately
- 1/2 cup snipped fresh dill
- 1/2 cup snipped wild fennel or 1 star anise and one fennel bulb, trimmed and coarsely chopped
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 lemon cut into wedges (optional)
- Feta cheese for sprinkling as garnish optional
- Greek barley rusks for serving optional
- Heat 80 ml of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onion, chard stems, and fennel bulb, if using, until tender, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Add the potatoes and stir to coat in the oil. Pour in the grated tomatoes and add the salt and pepper to taste and the bay leave(s). Cover and simmer over low heat until the tomato mixture is thick, about 20 minutes.
- Add the spinach to the tomato sauce, in batches, and cook, covered, until the spinach and chard have lost most of their volume and is wilted. Add the dill and fresh fennel or star anise. Toss gently to combine, being careful not to break up the potatoes. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper and sprinkle in a little nutmeg. Cook, covered, until most of the liquid from the spinach has cooked off, the contents of the pot are thick, and the potatoes tender.
- Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Pour in the remaining 80 ml of olive oil and serve.
- To serve: Plate the stewed greens in a shallow soup dish and sprinkle, if desired, with crumbled feta, and with the lemon wedges. OR, soak the rusks in water for a few seconds and let the water drip off. Place rusks on individual serving plates, drizzle with olive oil and place 3-4 tablespoons of the stewed greens over each rusk. Sprinkle with feta and serve. You can place a cooked potato from the stew on the side of the rusk, on the plate, and drizzle with a little olive oil, too.