Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ratatouille



Comfort food? Yummy.

French comfort food. Even yummier.

Dicing pounds and pounds of veggies into pieces? Very relaxing/stress-relieving.



Ratatouille (adapted from America's Test Kitchen)

2 medium vidalia onions
5 cloves garlic
1 large eggplant
green, yellow, and red bell peppers (1 large each, same amounts of each kind of pepper – my yellow and red peppers were so large that I used a large and small green pepper)
4 medium zucchini
4 medium summer squash
1 pound mushrooms
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1.5 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 can vegetable stock
1 large can diced tomatoes and juice
olive oil
salt and pepper

I'm still learning my camera. It's new and exciting. It comes with one of those fancy neck straps that only come on fancy cameras. But I have no idea how the settings work. So, here come lots of not so awesome pictures. For example, two picture of ingredients!

Fuzzy but with good lighting:



Clear, but not as pretty.



Dice onions, peppers, zucchini, summer squash, peppers, eggplant and mushrooms in ½ inch pieces. Mince garlic.



Ah, food porn:



Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until rippling but not smoking. Add onions and saute until translucent/golden. Add garlic and reduce heat to low.



In batches, making sure to not mix types, brown vegetables in a large saute e pan (I prefer cast iron skillets) and add to the dutch oven as you go. Use minimal amounts of oil – a dry pan will brown the vegetables faster.




A dry pan is especially helpful when browning the zucchini and the summer squash. If the pan is too wet, the vegetables will only get squishy instead of caramelized and the caramelization adds to the flavor of the dish.

Browned zucchini should look like this:



More food porn. How pretty is this?



After all the vegetables (hey, new drinking game: take a shot every time you read 'vegetables' in this post) have been added to the dutch oven, increase the heat to high and add the vegetable stock, diced tomatoes and herbs.



Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Cover and immediately put into a 400 degree oven for one hour.

You should be sufficiently drunk from the drinking game I invented. Take some time to walk it off during the cook time.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the dutch oven and put into colander that is hanging precariously over a large bowl.



There will a lot of liquid left in the dutch oven. Leave it there. Allow the vegetables to drain for 25-30 minutes and then add this liquid to the dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper – a small amount because the flavor will be made stronger as you reduce the liquid.

Look at all of that!



Put the dutch oven over high heat and bring to a fast, rolling boil until the liquid is reduced to a thick glaze. Depending on the amount of liquid, this can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.

As the liquid reduces, pay more attention to it. The thicker the glaze, the more it needs to be stirred. You know the glaze has reached the appropriate thickness when you drag your spoon through it and it leaves a trail.

Ta-da! A video of what this should look like. (Wow, I need a manicure.)

video

And now, a picture of the correct color of the glaze.



Remove the dutch oven from the heat and stir in the vegetables, evenly distributing the glaze. Cover the pot and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Serve immediately with some kind of grain and some kind of cheese. I chose barley and feta cheese.



This stuff is even better as leftovers.

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