Ratatouille, or, the Closest Vegans Will Ever Get to Stew Season
Updated: Feb 29, 2020
As refreshing as all the vegetables thrown in this recipe can be, I find ratatouille to be one of my all-time favourite staple winter meals. The warmth of the sauce combined with a rich rice bowl and a nice Cab Sauv, makes it that you simply cannot go wrong. And as the title says, it basically constitutes a stew. The longer the ingredients get to know each other (I give myself a minimum of 2 hours for a good ratatouille pot), the better it will be. It’s like roasting a duck: you have to commit to brushing the bird every 40 minutes or so for what feels like forever. And check its temperature, and turn it. But enough ranting about Julia Childs’ techniques- they are grand- the more time you allow your food to slowly cook and the flavours to become one, the better in this case. And another added bonus: the prep is the only work. Once they are blended together, you just happily wait. Side note, I have seen recipes such as Martha Stewart's where they suggest roasting the tomatoes separately in the oven for 30 minutes before tossing them into a dutch oven with the other ingredients but -and I would never dare say she is wrong- I have tried the recipe many times both ways (with or without the oven prep part) and I personally don't see the difference. Same thing for the dutch oven, no need to run to the store and buy one, I have tested the recipe in both the dutch oven and different pots and it turns out great regardless of the equipment. So no need to complicate your life over this! Keep it simple yet tasty.
To be honest, eggplants are another ingredient that I constantly buy and then forget about in the fridge. They are so massive that, unless I make homemade baba ganoush (recipe coming, it's so great), I only use a part for a pasta sauce and then let it go bad. Some recipes like ratatouille help you use every inch of your fridge and that makes my heart very happy. I had also been combing through my messages on Instagram recently (I am very lucky to be getting mostly recipe requests and not the creepy perv stories you hear about) and a few people had been requesting a step by step for this. So, while I eat this for breakfast (who needs bagels?) and lunch until the weekend, enjoy trying out this recipe!
You will need,
Any bell pepper (1)
Golden onion (1)
Garlic (5 cloves)
French Shallot (1)
Olive oil (a lot)
Canned tomatoes (I use Favuzzi tomatoes as they come in their own sauce and are very flavourful)- feel free to add fresh chopped tomatoes as well
Italian Parlsey (a ton)
Salt + pepper
Brown rice (or Basmati is great too)
A few simple steps,
1. In a large pot over medium-heat, throw the chopped zucchinis, eggplants, pepper, onion, garlic and shallot together with olive oil, salt and pepper (I don't personally see the point in letting the garlic become fragrant alone beforehand as all of this is going to bathe together for a couple of hours- but if you must, throw in the garlic alone for about 1 to 2 minutes before adding all the vegetables)- I said a lot of olive oil, because I like to add some as I watch the veggies cook and stir frequently
2. After about 8-10 minutes of stirring, add the canned tomatoes, which you crush and blend in with the rest of the vegetables
3. Reduce heat between 2 and low
4. Add the oregano and parsley
5. Cover and let simmer on low heat for about 1,5 to 2 hours (if you have less time you can leave it for 45 minutes to an hour and taste)
6. Serve over rice and garnish with parsley
I personally like to serve it with roasted cauliflower which I add around the bowl or a nice arugula salad to balance out the heat. A nice garlic naan folded over it would be delicious too. Anything goes!
Sincerely, get choppin'!