Both ratatouille (surprisingly hard to spell) and cassoulet are my favourite French dishes. They are such good comfort food and so versatile. This recipe is my hybrid mix to the two and is vegan. I used aubergine as the main part of the "meat" of the dish but I think adding a courgette and some red pepper would make it even better (and maybe get another portion out if it). I served it with herby mashed potato but quinoa, bulgar wheat or crusty bread would be equally good.
I think that both ratatouille and cassoulet are both best made in an oven proof pan (Le Creuset to be truly French but any will do!) and slow cooked for as long as possible - this way the tomato sauce develops such a deep savoury flavour. Make sure to check halfway through and top up with water if needed.
Makes 3-4 portions
1/2 medium red onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 large aubergine
1 can cannellini or haricot beans (or 70g dried cannellini or haricot beans soaked over night in water and cooked)
2 sundried tomatoes
Handful of dried mushrooms
1 medium carrot
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
3 tsp sunflower or olive oil
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp dried Herbs de Provence
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
Fresh herbs - e.g. tarragon, thyme, rosemary, oregano
- Set the oven to 180℃ in preparation for the oven proof pan.
- Place the pan on a medium heat with 2 tsp of the oil and add the red onion roughly sliced. Once translucent add the garlic cloves crushed with the cumin seeds. Next add the aubergine sliced with the remaining tsp of oil.
- Once the aubergine is cooked through add the carrot grated, chopped sundries tomatoes and dried mushrooms. Next add the Herbs de Provence, paprika and bay leaf. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and water. Bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for 5 minutes then add the salt and red wine vinegar. If using fresh herbs add the now before placing in the oven for 1 hour. After 30 minutes carefully remove the pan from the oven with oven mitts, give it a stir and top up with water if needed.
- After a total of 1 hour in the oven it is ready to eat - as mentioned above serve with mashed potato, crusty bread, quinoa or bulgar wheat.