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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Briani (Mixed Vegetable Casserole)


Greeks do like their greens and my mother was no exception.  She would usually cook dandelion greens or broccoli and douse them with olive oil and lemon, to her that was ambrosia.  She also would make stuffed vegetables (yemista) when they were in season using eggplants, zucchini and large tomatoes.  In my research to find another dish to add to my blog I came across this vegetable casserole in which you can use most any combination of delicious in season vegetables.  Instead of using a lot of olive oil (I do love a good quality extra virgin olive oil but it's nice to have alternatives!)  


1 large can diced tomatoes (28-ounces)
4 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. dried oregano or 1/4 fresh
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil  (one recipe called for 1 cup)  I used an oil mister and used my favorite olive oil.

Vegetables -  carrots, eggplant, okra, squashes (zucchini or yellow varieties), potatoes, onions, string beans, fresh tomatoes - whatever tickles your fancy and is in season.


Preheat oven 350 degrees

First peel your garlic then dice to desired size,  the smaller you dice it the stronger the taste.  It is your preference.  Add it to the opened can of tomatoes.
Stir to incorporate
If you are going to use okra, you will need to prepare them by first cutting the tops off and rinsing them off, scrubbing light to remove fuzz.      Then dry them on a paper towel.
Put them in a bowl and cover with vinegar and let them soak for around 30 minutes, the greeks prefer red wine vinegar.  Before you use them, drain well.              

Begin slicing your vegetables as finely as you wish.  I recently purchased a mandoline which will slice all kinds of vegetables or fruits!  It's fabulous.   Today I did zucchini, onions, okra, yellow squash, eggplant and a large tomato from my garden. 
Spray or drizzle some olive oil on the bottom of the casserole.   Start with a layer of vegetables - I used onions first.  Drizzle or spray olive oil, grind salt and pepper, add the herbs and then the diced tomato and garlic mixture.  

Keep layering in that fashion until you use up your vegetables, finish with the diced tomatoes.  

Cover with lid or foil and bake in the over for 75 minutes, until vegetables are soft.  Take lid off and bake for another 10 minutes.    

Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature before serving.  It's great as a side dish or with a slice of crusty bread or rolls.