Oven-stewed Potatoes with Tomatoes and Olives - Patates Yahni me Elies

Potatoes were first introduced to Greece in the early 19th century by Ioannis Kapodistrias, the country’s first Prime Minister, after independence. Nafplion in the Peloponnese was the nation's capital, and the story goes that the enlightened politician announced that he was giving free potatoes to the starving population, but nobody was interested to try them. One day he left a few crates of potatoes at the Nauplion harbor, and placed an armed soldier to guard them, proclaiming that whoever stole even one, was going to be executed. The next day all the potatoes had disappeared, as the Greeks became curious and decided to try this new tuber.

The recipe for this simple stew comes from The island of Zakinthos.

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1/2- 3/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds small potatoes, peeled and halved
3 cups onions, coarsely sliced
5-6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp oregano
2 cups fresh tomato pulp or canned tomatoes, diced
1/2-1 tsp fresh chili or red pepper flakes to taste
1 cup black olives, pitted, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Preheat the oven to 190o C.
In a heavy large and deep skillet warm the olive oil and  briefly fry the potatoes, in high heat, on all sides, until they start to brown. 

Remove the potatoes from the skillet and add the onions.

Sprinkle with salt and sauté tossing often until soft, about 8 minutes.

Add the garlic and the chili or pepper flakes and after a few seconds pour in the wine and add the oregano, tomato pulp and the olives.

Cook for 1-2 minutes, and remove from the heat.

Transfer the potatoes to a clay or glass ovenproof pan that holds them in one layer, pour the sauce over them and bake uncovered for 35 minutes or more, until the potatoes are tender.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately, accompanied by feta cheese.


If you use fresh new potatoes, you can leave them with the skin on
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