Potatoes yahni (Πατάτες γιαχνί )

Potatoes yahni

A traditional Greek potato stew

Potatoes yahni

 

Raise your hand if you love pototoes! You there, in the back, holding a fist-full of french fries, we see you!  And we love you!  And, we too love potatoes.  Whether they are roasted in the oven, bathed in all sorts of beautiful Greek flavours, or boiled and mashed and then transformed into the very distinctive Greek garlic spread called skordalia, we adore them.  Potatoes are so versatile, so available, so economical, that it’s no wonder that the rustic cuisine of Greece has taken this commonplace vegetable and made it the star of a stew which we know will find a happy place in your hearts and stomachs.

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Green beans with potatoes (Φασολάκια λαδερά με πατάτες)

Green Beans with Potatoes

Green beans with Potatoes

Some meal preparations lend themselves to teamwork.  Our mother would make this simple, wholesome and economical dish of green beans and potatoes about once every couple of weeks, and each time she would invite us to join her, as she prepared the beans for cooking.  We would sit with her at the kitchen table (which was, of course, covered in plastic) faced with a bowl full of green beans.  One by one, we would take the beans, and carefully snip off each end.  The trimmed ends would collect in a pile on the table, and the beans would be placed in a colander, to later be washed.

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Stewed green peas (Αρακάς λαδερός με ντομάτα)

Stewed green peas

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Poor peas. We don’t think there has ever been a more maligned vegetable.  Word on the street is that toddlers hate them, teenagers refuse them and grown men weep when they are added to an otherwise perfect dinner of meat and potatoes.   As far as we know, peas are the only vegetable that kids would rather shove up their noses instead of into their mouths.  And it doesn’t end there. If you want to insult someone’s intelligence, call them a pea-brain.  Facebook has a page devoted to hating peas, creatively called,  “I hate PEAS!!!”.  (Incidentally, this page has more followers than our Mia Kouppa Facebook page.  Friends, can we please fix that?)  Then there was that time when the New York Times published a recipe suggesting that peas be added to guacamole. Hysteria ensued.  Peagate was such a big deal that even President Obama weighed in…against the pea!  We don’t get it. Perfectly round, vibrantly green, and subtly sweet, we think peas are fantastic. Doubt us?  Keep reading.

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