My garden is bursting with the main ingredients for Ratatouille, a chunky French stew. While you may not be thinking of stew in the heat of the summer, this rich vegetable stew will warm your soul this winter.
What to do when the garden explodes
Ratatouille is a delicious way to preserve a lot of produce fast. It is even more flavorful reheated the next day. Use the following herbs and vegetables.
Herbs: rosemary, parsley, thyme, oregano, bay, garlic
Vegetables: onions, bell peppers zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes
Herbs are a must for Ratatouille, especially French thyme.
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 large bell pepper
• 1 medium eggplant
• 2 or 3 large tomatoes
• 2 zucchinis
1. Coursley chop vegetables into bite-size portions.
2. Saute onions in a little olive oil, then add garlic.
3. Add bell pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Cook for 15 minutes.
5. To preserve, divide the remainder of the stew into quart freezer containers, label, cool and freeze.
Tips For Cooking Ratatouille
Fresh herbs add sparkle to ratatoille
+ I have plenty of fresh herbs at the peak of summer so I like to add a few herb sprigs to the dish early. Just remember to remove them before serving.
+ Add zucchini or another summer squash to your stew for something a little different.
+ Cook covered over medium heat for about 10 more minutes, or until vegetables are done to your taste. Remove from heat, salt and pepper, and add fresh chopped herbs.
+ On the first snow day of the winter, put a quart of frozen ratatouille in the crockpot on low. By dinner time, your house will smell like a French restaurant. Being snowed in with a big bowl of rich, summery Ratatouille is a privilege for any home gardener.
+ My basic Ratatouille recipe is under-seasoned. To spice it up, season it with Herbs de Provence or add a combination of rosemary, parsley, thyme and, maybe, a cube of your frozen homemade pesto.
+ In my basic recipe, I add several whole cloves of garlic, which is different than the traditional French version. If this isn’t your cup of tea, add a variety of squash, peppers or eggplants instead.
Add a variety of peppers for flavor.
+ Serve as a stew with crusty bread, or, for a hardier meal, serve over rice, egg noodles, pasta or a baked potato.
+ I like to make a large batch of this stew and turn off the heat when the Ratatouille is slightly under cooked. Then I add fresh herbs, stir and cover it for 10 minutes.