Ratatouille

Submitted by: Kathryn Shipman
Vegitable dish with a lot of taste. Use as a side dish or main dish. Goes great with rice and baked chiken or fish.

Serves: 4 as main dish, 8-12 as side dish
Difficulty: Medium - some experience needed

Preparation time:
Cooking time:

Dietary guidance: v v d 

Tags: main · side ·

Ingredients

2 eggplants
4 zucchini
2 yellow bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
2/3 cup olive oil
1 bouquet garni*
3 large tomatoes, pelled, seeded and coarsely chopped
salt and pepper

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*bouquet garni
(French for "garnished bouquet") is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup, stock, and various stews. The bouquet is boiled with the other ingredients, but is removed prior to consumption.

There is no generic recipe for bouquet garni, but most recipes include parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Depending on the recipe, the bouquet garni may include basil, burnet, chervil, rosemary, peppercorns, savory and tarragon. Sometimes vegetables such as carrot, celery (leaves or stem), celeriac, leek, onion and parsley root are also included in the bouquet.

Sometimes, the bouquet is not bound with string, and its ingredients are filled into a small sachet, a net, or even a tea strainer instead. Traditionally, the aromatics are bound within leek leaves, though a coffee filter and butcher twine can be used instead of leek leaves.

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You can purchase a package of bunched herbs in the organic section of the vegitable/cooler isle at Wal Mart. At home, use white sewing thread to tigh together.

(photo: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/07/Bouquet_garni_p1150476_extracted.jpg/628px-Bouquet_garni_p1150476_extracted.jpg)

Method

roughly chop the eggplants adn zucchini, and seed and chop the bell peppers. Slice the onions and finely chop the garlic. heat the oil in a large pan (I used a large/deep pot). Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until softened. add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently for an additional 2 minutes.

Add the eggplants, zucchini, and bell peppers. (dont' be alarmed. It will compeltely fill the pot. As it cooks, it will create it's own juices and cook down to half it's content). Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell peppers begin to color. Add the bouquet garni, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer genlty for 40 minutes.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes adn season to taste with salt and pepper. Re-cover the pan and simmer gently for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Serve warm or cold.

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