Now I know the title isn’t much to go by, but I really wasn’t too sure what to call this dish other than what it is.
This dish really speaks to my heart and soul on a deeply comforting and fulfilling level.
To give you some background, we were travelling through Greece by coach and had just spent the day climbing the mountains and ancient ruins of Delphi.
Our coach pulled into the quiet town of Kalambaka, nestled at the base of the absolutely mind blowing magnificence of the Meteora rock formations. It was almost dark when we arrived at our accommodation, we were exhausted and absolutely ravenous. As we entered the hotel, the smell of tomato, dill and roasting potatoes filled our nostrils and taunted our stomachs. We quickly dumped our bags in our rooms and headed to the delicious smell.
Tables lay across the front of the room, strewn with every type of food imaginable. We grabbed a couple of plates and started to fill them with the incredible selection of deliciousness before us. It was at this moment that the peas caught my attention. Nestled together in a large pot, swimming in a thick glossy sauce, all cosied up to tomato, potato, carrot and the mouth watering aroma of dill and garlic.
Now, I don’t know if it was the atmosphere, the incredible views, the feeling of wonder and awe following our magical day at Delphi or a combination of everything, but those peas and that meal have lingered in my dreams and run through my thoughts ever since.
I spent the meal savouring every mouthful, trying to figure out each flavour, every vegetable, spice, tang and sweet note that hit my tongue.
When our trip ended and we sadly came back to reality, I continued to dream about those peas and I had the overwhelming need to recreate them and quench my desire to taste them once more.
After many attempts, lots of adjusting and trials, I believe I have finally done it! So without further ado, I present to you my memory inspired ‘Greek Peas’.
I hope they speak to your tastebuds and senses as they do mine and you can be mentally transported to the magical town and flavours of Kalambaka.
PEAS OF KALAMBAKA
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 medium potatoes, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large tomatoes, finely diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp honey
½ cup chopped dill
1 tbsp dried dill
500g frozen peas
½ litre vegetable stock or ½ litre water mixed with ‘Vegeta Natur’ stock powder
Salt and pepper to season to taste
1. Finely dice onion, potatoes and carrots and place in a frying pan with butter and oil on a low heat on the stovetop.
2. While the vegetables are starting to sweat off, finely dice the tomatoes and set aside.
3. Using a garlic press, crush two cloves of garlic into the sauteing vegetables. Stir until all combined and coated in the oil and butter. Keep simmering on a low heat, stirring occasionally for around 5 – 10 minutes.
4. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, fresh dill, dried dill and frozen peas to the vegetable mixture. Mix all ingredients together and cover in vegetable stock. Keep on low heat and cook for 20 – 30 minutes, until all vegetables are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
I like to make this dish in advance and reheat when ready to use, as the flavours seem to mingle and develop after standing for a few hours.