Monday, March 4, 2013

Rocking the Crock Pot Ratatouille

Every Thursday a truck of gently expired food drops off boxes to the back of my school.  The food is distributed to parents and community members who need it. On a good day stale bread and rotten bananas make their way into my kitchen and become cassoulet or banana bread.  Last week's treasure was an eggplant with only a few moldy spots on it.  It had been weighing on my mind for a few days when I googled eggplant + crock pot in hopes of combining my two loves--the crock pot and not throwing away food.
The Internet reared up and smacked me on the forehead. Duh! Ratatouille.  Ratatouille is a perfect recipe for me since you can pretty much do whatever you want.  My version is just a guideline, feel free to add or omit anything you want. I think you should most definitely have eggplant and tomatoes but anything else goes.  
Here's my recipe.

1 eggplant, chopped into large chunks
4 stalks of celery
2 yellow potatoes, chopped*
1 onion, diced
2 peppers (I used a red and a green)
2 small zucchini

1 cup chicken broth
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 Tablespoon oregano

1/4 cup of white wine
salt & pepper

*potatoes are not traditional, but I was trying to please my husband and daughter and I had some on hand

I peeled the eggplant and then sprinkled salt all over it and set it in a colander for 15 minutes.  This helps take some of the bitterness out.  Often I rinse it after this step, but I just left the salt on this time and didn't salt later. 

Throw all the ingredients except the white wine in and turn the crock pot on to high.  Let cook for 4-5 hours on high or 6-7 on low.  

I stirred the wine in at the end and let it cook off for another 20 minutes, salt and pepper to taste at this step.

I served the ratatouille over rice with a little Parmesan cheese over the top and crispy flat bread heated up in the oven with olive oil.

I told my husband all about ratatouille at breakfast on Saturday morning.  You know; how we were going to eat it that night, what is in it, and what a nice French staple it is. He nodded and said, "sounds good." This I would swear to.

So I didn't feel too bad for him when he looked skeptically at the crock pot on Saturday and asked where the meat was.  However, the good news is, he liked it! Or at least he said he did, which is just as good to me.  

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