Ratatouille is one of those French dishes that many people have a difficult time pronouncing. However you pronounce it, it is delicious. A great vegetable stew that is best served at room temperature as side dish with any meat entree, such as Steak au Poivre or Lamb Chops.
The following recipe will produce about 4 quarts of ratatouille, I usually make a large batch, freeze the leftovers in individual portions in plastic Zip-Lock bags, defrost then in the morning and eat them in the evening; so all of that up-front work is paid back for weeks to come. Or, if you prefer, you can easily cut the recipe in half.
(Preparation Time 75 minutes, cooking time 2 hours)
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
7 cloves of garlic, chopped coarsely
2 large eggplants, cubed (1 inch cubes)
6 medium onions, chopped coarsely
4 zucchini, cubed (1/2 inch cubes)
4 red peppers, seeded and cubed (1 inch cubes)
4 green peppers, seeded and cubed (1 inch cubes)
8 large ripe tomatoes, cubed (1 inch cubes)
1 cup of capers
2 cups of loosely packed basil, chopped
2 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
1. Heat 1&1/2 cups of the olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat, add the garlic and sauté until soft but not browned. Add the eggplant in batches and sauté until it is cooked to a light brown color. With a slotted spoon, remove the eggplant to a large (12 qt.) stock pot.
2. Add the onions to the pan and scraping up the eggplant and garlic bits–cook the onions until translucent, transfer them to the stock pot, stirring in with the eggplant.
3. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil to the pan; sauté the zucchini until slightly soft. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the stock pot, stirring it with the other vegetables.
4. Add the peppers to the oil in the pan and sauté until soft. Transfer the peppers and any remaining liquid in the pan to the stock pot.
5. Add the tomatoes and capers to the stock pot.
6. Add the basil, chicken broth and vinegar to the stock pot, mixing all the ingredients well.
7. Cook uncovered on a low flame for 2 hours.
8. When cooked and slightly cooled, drain the vegetables from the liquid and refrigerate the ratatouille.
9. Bring to room temperature for 1 hour prior to serving.
Note: Save the excess liquid to use as a base for Garbanzo Bean Soup.
Note: When you tire of eating the ratatouille you can use the remainder as the base for a delicious Mediterranean Vegetable Spread.