Aginares à la polita (Greek artichoke stew)

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Aginares à la polita is a traditional vegan Greek artichoke stew.

Aginares à la polita is a traditional vegan Greek artichoke stew


Αγκινάρες αλά πολίτα. You may be wondering why a Greek food blog is sharing a recipe that seems to have a French flair. First, remember that this food blog likes to occasionally celebrate food from other cultures. In this case however, despite the name, the recipe is all Greek. Sort of. So, what the heck does à la polita mean? And why is this classic Greek artichoke stew called aginares à la polita?

Aginares à la polita is a traditional vegan Greek artichoke stew.

This recipe illustrates the complexity and beauty of food, and culture, and history. Asia Minor, which included the city of Constantinoupolis, used to belong to the Greeks until it was taken over by the Turks. Much of the cuisine that we see in various parts of Greece today has its roots in the cooking that was popular in Asia Minor. One style of ancient Greek cooking was called Politiki Kouzina which had recipes including a simple meal of artichokes in oil. This is the origin of aginares à la polita, or Greek artichoke stew.

The original recipe from Constantinoupolis (which today is Istanbul) served as the inspiration for aginares à la polita, a vegan Greek artichoke stew. This modern version was created, and named, by Nicholas Tselemedes, the famous Greek chef and cookbook author. The polis in à la polita refers to the city of Constantinoupolis. Aginares is the Greek word for artichokes. In other words then, the recipe could be called, artichokes from the city of Constantinoupolis.

This recipe is a classic example of Greek cooking, which takes advantage of fresh, seasonal vegetables. It also is traditionally vegan and therefore perfect for periods of lent during which people abstain from eating meat, eggs and dairy. There is another, similar (but not vegan) recipe that uses a rich egg-lemon or avgolemono sauce – you can find that recipe here.

We love recipes like aginares à la polita (Greek artichoke stew). It tastes like spring, is easy to put together, is healthy and wholesome, and rich in history. How delicious!


Fresh or frozen artichokes?

Fresh artichokes are definitely wonderful, and look so pretty, but honestly, when we can use frozen artichokes – we do! They are so much easier! We like to buy frozen artichoke bottoms to use in this recipe (and others like our white bean stuffed artichoke hearts). Although you can defrost the artichoke bottoms before you use them in this recipe, you don’t have to.

Aginares à la polita is a traditional vegan Greek artichoke stew.
Aginares à la polita is a traditional vegan Greek artichoke stew.

How to defrost frozen peas

The quickest and easiest way to defrost peas is to lay them out on a cookie sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel for approximately 30 minutes. If you don’t defrost your peas, keep in mind that they will release water, so you will not need to add as much as we suggest in the recipe. Ultimately, it’s not imperative that you defrost your peas – just keep in mind that any excess water they release in cooking will dilute the flavours in your recipe, so you may need to adjust the seasoning or increase the cooking time (to have the excess water evaporate).

Aginares à la polita is a traditional vegan Greek artichoke stew.

Looking for more lenten recipes? How about these?

Fried eggplant chips

Taramosalata

Mung bean soup

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Aginares à la polita is a traditional vegan Greek artichoke stew.
Aginares à la polita is a traditional vegan Greek artichoke stew.
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4.80 from 5 votes

Aginares à la polita (Greek artichoke stew)

Aginares à la polita is a traditional vegan Greek artichoke stew
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Resting time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Artichokes, Politika
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 754kcal
Author: Mia Kouppa

Equipment

  • 1 large pot

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 750 grams frozen artichoke buttoms (no need to defrost)
  • 4 carrots, chopped in 1 inch chunks
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water, boiling
  • 4 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 500 grams frozen peas defrosted
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped dill
  • 1 ½ lemons, squeezed
  • 1 tbsp flour

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pot set over medium heat and add the onions. Fry the onions for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring regularly, until translucent.
    3/4 cup olive oil, 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • Add the carrots, artichokes, tomato sauce and boiled water to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Next add in your potatoes, stir to combine, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
    750 grams frozen artichoke buttoms, 4 carrots, chopped in 1 inch chunks, ¼ cup tomato sauce, ½ cup water, boiling, 4 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Add in your peas, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Your ingredients should be covered with liquid. If they are not, add in some additional boiled water. When you have reached the boiling point, reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 40 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add in your fresh dill.
    500 grams frozen peas, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, ¼ cup freshly chopped dill
  • Turn off the heat and transfer some liquid (about a ladle full) into a small bowl. Let the liquid cool slightly and then add in the juice of 1 ½ lemons and the flour. Stir, and add that liquid back into the pot. Shake the pot gently to combine.
    1 ½ lemons, squeezed, 1 tbsp flour
  • Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Aginares a la politika is a great vegan meal that is perfect for lent. Serve it with some rustic bread for a hearty and delicious meal.

Nutrition

Calories: 754kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 42g | Sodium: 1563mg | Potassium: 1005mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 10547IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 13mg

4 responses to “Aginares à la polita (Greek artichoke stew)”

  1. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen Avatar

    Now this is most unusual, and looks really tasty!

    1. miakouppa Avatar
      miakouppa

      Thank you so much! It really is absolutely lovely 🙂 xoxo Helen & Billie

  2. Frank Fariello Avatar

    Looks and sounds lovely! Both artichokes and peas are vegetables that I usually buy frozen, Where I live at least the frozen kind is at least as tasty as fresh. Not to mention the convenience!

    1. miakouppa Avatar
      miakouppa

      Yes! We often rely on frozen artichokes and peas – this is what we used in this recipe. So much easier, and you’re right, often better quality! xoxo Helen & Billie

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