Ratatouille (ra-ta-too-ey), or as my father loves to call it “Rattatooley”, is one of my favourite dishes of all time. It is loaded with my favourite veggies, and the best thing is it’s pretty much impossible to mess up! This was one of my staple dishes as a vegetarian, but since I started eating meat I have discovered it goes amazingly with an array of different meats. My personal favourite is with a perfect rare steak on the side, but this time I did it with sliced chicken and it was perfect.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
*Bear in mind you can add literally any mix of these veggies in any quantity you prefer depending on what you like or have available. This recipe is a general guide for how I like it but there are plenty of ways you can make it suit your tastes or what’s in season!
-1 whole aubergine (eggplant)
-3 handfuls of mushrooms
-2 or 3 courgettes (zucchinis)
-2 or 3 capsicums (peppers) in any colour you like
-800g tomatoes, fresh or canned. (2 x cans)
-4 to 5 kumara (sweet potato)
-Meat of your choice: I used 6 chicken thighs, thinly sliced
-Parsely and Basil to taste
1. Chop up your kumara into medium sized chunks and roast them with a little oil on 190°C. Set your timer for 15 minutes.
2. Finely slice up your onions and fry in a large pot on medium high with oil of your choice (I prefer Coconut oil for pretty much everything but used Olive this time)
3. While your onions are browning, slice up your aubergine. If you’re like me and love playing with presentation and you love big gorgeous mushy bits of aubergine, then slice a few full circles from the widest part and set aside. Cube the rest and add to the onion, stirring to keep from catching, and adding extra oil if necessary.
4. Rinse and repeat with mushies; courgette and capsicums
6. Add in a generous bunch of chopped parsley. If Basil is in season then fresh Basil is best, otherwise add a good tablespoon of the dried version at least. Mix it all up and turn down to a simmer.
7. Once your timer has gone off, turn over the kumara and roast for another 15 minutes on the other side. You can boil the kumara, but roasting really brings out the flavour and gives it an amazing consistency.
8. If you’re planning on adding meat (like chicken) to the mix, then cook it now. I pan fried the chicken till just done, and then mixed it through the ratatouille and left it simmering in there to give it some good flavouring.
OPTIONAL: If you want fancy Aubergine slices, pop them in the oven with the kumara on a tray with a bit of oil. They will need about 6 minutes on each side at this temperature.
9. Once the kumara are done (30 mins in total, but check to make sure they are well cooked through) you are going to mash them! I don’t like to add fat at this point as they have already been cooked in a little oil, and I don’t think it’s necessary. I used my kitchen whizz stick, which I find gives them the perfect consistency without needing added fat.
10. If you’re serving with a steak or other such red meat, then fry that up now.
11. Take the aubergine slices out and serve it all in a stack with the kumara on the bottom and the meat on top- nom!