Fall arrived in a downpour, making plenty of mud puddles and sending us scurrying into the kitchen to put a pot of soup on to cook. Since temps haven’t dropped to frost levels, there’s still a plethora of veggies to be harvested or picked up at the farm stands.
A visit with family this past weekend meant arriving home with a big box full of tomatoes, leeks, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers as well as three kinds of summer squash. Our very own CSA (community supported agriculture). Broccoli, zucchini and leeks were thrown into a pan with olive oil and garlic as a quick side with roast chicken. However, the eggplant and tomatoes cried out to be slowly roasted into a savory vegetable stew known as ratatouille.
Ratatouille is the quintessential south of France vegetable stew calling upon the garden’s bounty. Recipes vary slightly from cook to cook, the basics are the same: tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant and zucchini. Often the mélange is simmered on the stove top, however, this rendering is popped in the oven drawing out the natural sweetness, caramelizing the vegetables.
Ratatouille with Soft Goat-Cheese Polenta
Ingredients for Stew:
- 2 Large Heirloom Tomatoes
- 1 Japanese Eggplant
- 2 Medium Leeks
- 2 Green Bell Peppers
- 2 Medium Summer Squash (crook-neck, zucchini)
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
- ½ Cup Fresh Basil
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste
- Goat Cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop all vegetables in 1” chunks. Place in large roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, minced garlic and oregano. Roast for 45 minutes, or until slightly browned and juices have released. Remove from oven, add fresh basil and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. Adjust the salt and pepper.
Ingredients for Polenta:
- 3 Cups Milk
- 1 Cup Polenta (corn grits)
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Clove Garlic, crushed
- ¼ Cup Goat Cheese
In a medium sauce pan, heat milk, salt and garlic until just under a boil. Add polenta and stir. Cook over a low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until it is slightly thickened and polenta is soft, but with a nutty crunch. Remove from heat and stir in goat cheese.
Divide the ratatouille between four wide bowls. Spoon the soft polenta onto the vegetable stew. Dust with additional goat cheese.