Ratatouille is a name for a humble vegetable stew which originated from Southern France. It used to be called a poor man's dish as it only contains very simple vegetables that could be easily obtained or planted by the people of the mediterranean region. The vegetables like carrots, onions, peppers, aubergines, tomatoes, and cucumbers, are cut up into pieces and stewed with mixed herbs to bring out a flavourful dish.
Recently I cook a pot of ratatouille to be eaten as an accompaniment to rice and a salmon dish. It can also be tossed with pasta for a quick healthy meal. So for those who are keen on cooking this poor man's food packed with vitamins, here is a recipe to share.........
2 red peppers or any colour, deseeded and quartered - skinned
2 tbsp vegetable stock
1 onion - thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves -crushed
2 aubergines (eggplant)- diced
2 cucumbers or zucchini - sliced
400 g canned chopped or stewed tomatoes
a few sprigs of thymes,majoram or oregano-or dry mixed herbs
a dash of ground black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
To skin red peppers, place pepper under a hot grill and grill skin side up, til the skin begins to char. Pop into plastic bag and leave to cool slightly then remove the skin and diced.
Heat olive oil in pan and gently cook the onions and garlic until translucent. Add aubergines and zucchini and continue to cook for 3 mins. Mix in red peppers and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for another minute. Add tomatoes and snip in fresh herbs. Season with a dash of freshly ground pepper and vegetables stock. Covered and simmer for about 20 to 30 mins til the vegetables are soft and tender.