These might look like a mess to you, but to me the pics make my mouth water. It is one of the best ways to cook capsicums that I know – the flavours in this simple dish are truly amazing. The capsicums are slowly simmered in tomatoes, garlic and olive oil until collapsed and tender. Some of the capsicums melt into the sauce. It is sweet and delicious. Eaten with just feta, crusty bread and perhaps a green salad, it evokes the rustic cooking of Greece. Add wine to your meal if you wish. It is a great Summer dish – imagine eating it under the grape vines outside with a dozen friends.
I have long said that Diane Kochilas is my favourite Greek cookbook author, and I’ve had her huge bible of Greek cooking for decades. (Follow her on Instagram.) Recently I fell in love with two more of her books – Country Greek Cooking and Ikaria. This dish is adapted from one in Ikaria. If you love Greek food you should get this book.
Capsicums Cooked in Tomatoes and Garlic
600 – 700g of capsicums – red, green and/or yellow – round and fat sweet capsicums or the long thin sweet variety
1 large white or red onion, finely chopped
6 – 8 Tblspn extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup passata
2 fresh bay leaves (use dried if you don’t have fresh)
1 small Tblspn dried Greek oregano or 4 sprigs fresh oregano
sea salt, to taste
If using the large sweet capsicums, they can be halved. Keep the thinner ones whole. Cut out and discard the stems and seeds.
In a large deep pan with a lid (I use a dutch oven), add 1 Tblspn olive oil and the onions. Cover and cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes until the onions are wilted.
Add the minced garlic and stir, then add the capsicums. Season with a sprinkle of salt and replace the lid. Continue to simmer over a low heat until the capsicums wilt – this can take as little as 10 – 12 mins for the long thin capsicums, but the larger ones might take 20 mins or so. Check often.
Now add the tomatoes, passata, bay leaves and oregano. Add half a cup of water if the passata is very thick. Cover and continue to cook over low heat until the peppers are very soft.
Discard the bay leaves and stir in the remaining olive oil. Garnish with fresh oregano leaves if desired.
Best served with feta cheese and bread for soaking up the delicious sauce.