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Ratatouille (Rat Stew) for Emilie

So this is for my friend Emilie, I promised her this recipe ages ago and didn’t put it up so here you go Emilie hope you like it! I haven’t got any photos for this one so when I next cook it i’ll update the recipe. I have no idea if this is a traditional version of the recipe but this is how I do it. Preferably use an oven to do the vege but if you don’t have an oven then you can do it in a frying pan.

The main idea is to cook each vegetable in stages so you can get the most amount of flavour from each vegetable. If you just chuck it all in at the same time you won’t get as good a result. I can never quite remember which vege to put in this, I always seem to forget one. Anyway you’re going to need;

Garlic 3-4 cloves
Pumpkin or butternut squash
Aubergine (Or Eggplant if you’re crazy and American or Canadian…Emilie)
Peppers – 4 would be good, mix up the colours. 2 Red, 1 Green and 1 Orange would be nice.
1 Large Red Chilli
Cherry Tomatoes
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Dried Oregano
Fresh Oregano (if you cant get fresh oregano then use basil) 
Fresh Parsley
Fresh Mint
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Quantities will depend how many you are feeding. I always cook for about 5000 people so for this I’d say 2 handfuls of each vegetable (obviously not the garlic, that would be mental). Everything wants to get roughly chopped. We can be quite rustic here.

1.1 First off get the chilli, de-seed and finely chop. Get some olive oil in a medium size sauce pan and add the chilli cook for 2 mins the add the two tins of tomatoes and bring to a simmer and let it gently bubble away. Add salt and pepper and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Give it a stir and let it simmer while you roast the vege.

1.2 Right so get the oven on high. About 220°C for non fan ovens. 200°C for fan. Now get the onions, carrots and butternut squash and roughly chop them into reasonably large chunks. Not too big so you can’t fit them in your mouth but not so small that they will fall apart easily. You can be pretty rough with the shapes tho. Put them in a deep roasting tray and drizzle some olive oil and season with salt and pepper and a sprinkle of oregano and give it a little mix. Put them in the oven and roast for about 10-15 mins. Give them a jostle or stir around once to twice so they don’t stick. Once they have taken some colour and softened a bit remove from the oven and add to a nice large deep sauce pan and put on a low heat.

2. Next get the courgettes, garlic and peppers put in the roasting tray, season again and add a bit more oil then in the oven for 10-15 mins. Same as before. Then remove and add to the pan and stir.

3. Now chop up the leeks and add them to the roasting tray along with the mushrooms and whole cherry tomatoes. Repeat the seasoning and oil process then in the oven for 10-15mins as before. Remove and add to pan and stir.

4. Now for the Aubergine. Chop up and season with salt leave to sit for a while then pat dry with some kitchen towel. Now add to the roasting tray and season and oil and put in the oven. While it is cooking be careful when you jostle them about as they with soften quite a bit. Once they have taken some colour add to the pan and stir.

5. Now get the tomato sauce that we had simmering in the other pan and add to the large pan and stir through. Be really careful when stirring as you don’t want to break the vege apart too much. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Now roughly chop the fresh oregano, mint and parsley (a handful of each is fine) and add to the pan along with a knob or two of butter and stir gently.

There you go that should be it. Because we did the vege that takes the longest to cook as the first stage everything should be cooked about right. Apparently a proper rat stew shouldn’t be over cooked with mushy vege but at the same time you don’t want the vege to be crunchy either. If you think the vege a bit under cooked then just let it simmer gently for 20 mins or so. I did this once and let it simmer gently for about an hour and even tho it all went a bit mushy it was really good and I almost preferred it like that so it’s just up to you really. Maybe if you had a proper French person with you they might say that’s not a proper Ratatouille but you can just tell them to jog on and shove a baguette up their arse or something.

If you want to make it a bit funkier then you can use this as a base for a vegetarian lasagna or a vegetarian shepherds pie. For the shepherds pie I made some nice buttery mash potato with leeks. Just cook up some leeks with a dash of olive oil and butter, add a bit of single cream and Parmesan stir then add it to the mash and mix well. Now put the rat stew in an oven dish, spoon over the mash so it’s all covered, add grated cheese and cook in the oven on 180°C for 45 mins. Yummy!

Check back tomorrow for a really tasty roast mushroom vege goats cheese creation! It was goooood!


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