A hearty vegan stew made with potatoes and greens in a tomato based sauce
This spinach and potato stew, also called Bonamatsi (Μποναμάτσι), is a dish common in the northern part of Greece, and not necessarily where our parents are from. Still, this was a meal that we would occasionally have growing up, particularly on fasting days. In fact, it was most often served in the days before Christmas, probably because a bowl of bonamatsi was filling and warming, perfect for December in Canada. Holiday fasting periods aside, this was also a dish often made on Fridays, competing with the other staple vegan (and lenten) meal, fakes. We now understand that by the time Friday rolled around our parents were relying on simple and straightforward meals to end the work week with.
Spinach, when cooked as it is in this recipe, has the capacity to become luxurious. That really is the best way we have found to describe the soft but not mushy texture, the subtle yet pronounced taste, and the capacity for the spinach leaves to wrap around anything they are cooked alongside. Spinach is sexy!
Fresh spinach is ideal for this recipe. If you must use frozen spinach be sure to thaw it out and drain it as much as possible. Otherwise, your spinach and potato stew may be too watery.
We like to use yellow fleshed potatoes in most of our recipes, but feel free to use the potato of your choice (or what you have handy). Red skinned potatoes would be lovely too, as would russets. We would draw the line at sweet potatoes though; we think that might be gross.
If you are eating dairy, then serving this stew with a nice piece of feta would be perfect. Whatever you do, don’t forget the bread. This meal has so much bread dunking potential.
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Spinach and potato stew (Σπανάκι με πατάτες)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3-4 green onions, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 20-25 ounces fresh spinach, washed and chopped about 600 grams
- 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 4-6 medium sized potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- lemon optional
- In a large pot heat the olive oil and add the chopped yellow onion and spring onions. Cook over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the onion from burning.
- Add the chopped parsley to the pot, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Next add the potatoes to the pot along with the tomato sauce and 1 cup of water. Season with the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally to make sure that the potatoes do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Do so carefully as to not break up the potatoes. If your pot is getting too dry during the cooking process, add a little more water, 1/4 cup at a time.
- Add the chopped spinach, cover, and cook until the spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat, and let sit uncovered, for approximately 10-15 minutes, to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Serve, and squeeze some lemon juice over each serving, if desired.
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