Ratatouille – French Vegetable Stew

Ratatouille – French Vegetable Stew
A Classic French Vegetable Stew

Ratatouille is a classic French vegetable stew that is both simple and delicious. This dish is a celebration of fresh, seasonal produce and can be enjoyed as a side or a main dish. It is made by sautéing onions, garlic, and bell peppers in olive oil until they are softened and fragrant. Then, sliced zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes are added to the pot and gently simmered until they are tender.

The key to making a great ratatouille is to use the freshest ingredients possible. Look for vegetables that are ripe, firm, and brightly coloured. You can also add other vegetables like mushrooms, squash, or even artichokes to the mix for added flavour and texture.

Served in Many Different Ways

One of the great things about ratatouille is that it is a versatile dish that can be served in many different ways. You can enjoy it on its own as a vegetarian main course, or serve it as a side dish alongside roasted chicken, grilled fish, or steak. It also makes a great topping for pasta or polenta.

Ratatouille a delicious French stew
Making the Ratatouille Stew

To make ratatouille, start by heating a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes, and season with salt, pepper, and your favourite herbs. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the flavours have melded together.

Garnish it with Fresh Herbs and Serve

Once the ratatouille is ready, you can garnish it with fresh herbs, like basil or thyme, and serve it hot or at room temperature. It’s a comforting and healthy dish that’s perfect for any time of year.

How to Make the Ratatouille – French Vegetable Stew

2 large aubergines                                                                                                                                          3 medium courgettes                                                                                                                                      2 medium onions                                                                                                                                            2 red or green peppers                                                                                                                                    4 large tomatoes, or 1 x 14 oz (400 g) tin Italian tomatoes, well drained                                                2 cloves garlic, crushed                                                                                                                                  4 tablespoons olive oil                                                                                                                                    1 level tablespoon roughly torn fresh basil                                                                                                    salt and freshly milled black pepper

  1. Begin by wiping the aubergines and cutting them into 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices, then cut each slice in half; the courgettes should be wiped as well and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices.
  2. Now put the whole lot into a colander, sprinkle generously with salt, and press them down with a suitably sized plate and put weights (or other heavy objects) on top of the plate. Let them stand for about 1 hour – the salt will draw out any bitterness along with excess moisture.
  3. Meanwhile chop up the onion roughly, deseed and core the peppers and chop these up too. Skin the tomatoes (plunging them into boiling water for a couple of minutes is the best way to loosen the skins), then quarter them, take out the seeds and roughly chop the flesh.
  4. To cook the ratatouille, gently fry the onions and garlic in the oil in a large saucepan for a good 10 minutes, and then add the peppers. Dry the pieces of courgette and aubergine in kitchen paper, then add them to the saucepan. Next add the basil and seasoning of salt and pepper, stir once really well, and then simmer very gently, covered, for 30 minutes. After that time add the tomato flesh, taste to check the seasoning and cook for a further 15 minutes with the lid off.

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