Olive oil and vegies - perfect partners
The Greek version of stew contains more olive oil and vegies, and less or no meat/chicken. Vegetables are the main ingredients and they used to change with the seasons until frozen veg made it possible for us to eat what we like all year round.
My favourite types of stews are called 'ladera' - which translates to ''oily ones'. If most of my non-Greek/Italian friends saw how much olive oil goes into them, they'd probably have an anxiety attack. We were all brought up in the 'low fat' era, and I have tried to make this with a few tablespoons of olive oil & they just don't taste good - they're too watery and bland. It was only when I stopped worrying about how much oil I was putting in that I was able to replicate the taste of my mother's cooking.
If we want Australians to increase the amount of vegies they eat, it is imperative that we make them affordable, easy to prepare and super tasty. The easiest way that I know of to do that is to cook them with olive oil and herbs. Dietitians are probably horrified at the amount of oil Greeks use, but the proof is in the pudding. Our people (that still eat traditionally) have some of the highest life expectancies on the planet. Those that have altered their eating habits to a predominantly Western diet are dying too young of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Olive oil is not the problem, the type of food we eat is. Let's be honest, particularly at this stage of my life, do I care more about how slim I am, or how long (and with how much quality of life) I'm going to be around?
Those of you that have seen some of my Greek recipes know that I like to add a variety of colour, so my version of 'ladera' contains less beans than usual and includes other veg. Your family will have it's own favourites, don't be afraid to experiment and replace some veg with others.