Thursday, November 1, 2012

Vat O' Yachni ( Basic Recipe for Greek Batch Cooking )

The last two posts were for dishes with the word "Yachni" in their name. There are lots more dishes that use this sauce as a central component. Once the sauce is made, the dishes become almost instant -  easier than most supermarket meal kits, or meals-in-a-box - but both tastier and healthier.

If you have a big freezer, you can prepare several of these dishes all at once quite easily by making the sauce, and then using the sauce to combine with other ingredients to make several meals in a very short amount of time. Then you can plan to have, say, every Wednesday night become "Greek food night."

If you have a small freezer (the one above the fridge, like I have), then you can prepare the sauce all at once, and each week (if you make several meals at once), or even on the spur of the moment when  you want a Greek-style meal, combine it with just a few other ingredients, and be ready to go - like a meal kit in your freezer!

Most of the meals from this sauce may be made either in the Slow Cooker or on the stove top, according to your preference.

This sauce only requires brief simmering, as it will simmer more when it is cooked with other ingredients for the assembly of the meals.

Here's the plan - you make the sauce the same way as the "Yachni" sauce that was in the Fasolakia Yachni recipe (Greek Green Beans), but just quadruple the recipe. You will need at least an 8 quart pot. If you don't have one that big, then just use the Double Recipe, given further below.

Vat O' Yachni

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil (or up to 1 cup, depending on your taste)*
2 12oz bags frozen chopped onions (or 6 cups fresh chopped onion)
2 Tablespoons Garlic

Then add:
2 #10 cans chopped tomatoes with juice (or 14 regular cans - 15oz each)
4 Bay Leaves
1/3 cup dry Parsley
6 Tablespoons (one small can) Tomato Paste
2 teaspoons Salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Pepper

Bring to a simmer, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Ready for use immediately, or may be frozen in 4 batches (5 or 6 cups per batch) for future use.

Double Batch Yachni
(for smaller freezers or smaller families)

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or up to 1/2 cup, depending on your taste)*
1 12oz bag frozen chopped onions (or 3 cups fresh chopped onion)
1 Tablespoon Garlic
Then add:
1 #10 can chopped tomatoes with juice (or 7 -  15oz cans)
2 Bay Leaves
3 Tablespoons dry Parsley
3T Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Bring to a simmer, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Ready for use immediately, or may be frozen in batches (5 or 6 cups per batch) for future use.

*To be authentic, these dishes traditionally have a LOT of oil. If you like less or none, it will still taste good (I've made it with none) but it will lack some authenticity.

This Sauce Makes these Recipes:
 Bulgur Pilaf ( Pourgouri )
Greek Bean Soup ( Fasolia Yachni )
Greek Chickpea Stew ( Revythia )
Greek Giant Beans ( Gigantes )
Greek Green Beans ( Fasolakia Yachni )
Greek Okra & Tomato Stew ( Bamies Yachni )
Greek Peas & Artichokes Yachni
Greek Stuffed Veggies ( Gemista )
Indian Chickpeas in Ginger Sauce over Rice
Indian Spiced Blackeye Peas over Rice
Red Lentil Soup - Moroccan or Sephardic Styles
Stuffed Eggplant
Tofu Creole

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