Ratatouille (with optional garlicky lamb chops)

Ratatouille

As with many tasty things, this is a simple dish.  It can be a meal in its own right (with some rice or crusty bread) but can also be a real warming accompaniment to many things (like these lamb chops)! Most Mediterranean vegetables can work, the important thing is to keep the vegetables chunky so that they can be distinguished as different from each other. Purists won’t use tinned tomatoes but I like them, to add some juice and richness to the dish.

The end result should be rich, with creamy (but distinct) vegetables, and full of flavour.  If you’ve been put off by watery, mushy stewed concoctions then give this a try!

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients

  • 2 Courgettes
  • 1 Aubergine
  • 2 Bell peppers (green and red)
  • 1 Celery stalk
  • 1 Red onion
  • Tin of whole plum tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Dried oregano
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh basil
  • ?balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Finely slice the onion, celery and garlic; cut all the other vegetables into big chunks.
  2. In a heavy cast iron deep pan, on a medium heat with a generous glug of olive oil, cook the courgettes, aubergines and peppers in batches, to seal and brown them lightly, then put aside.
  3. Sauté the garlic, onion and celery in an even more generous glug of olive oil, until translucent and add the browned veg. Add a pinch of oregano, a few sprigs of thyme and the tinned tomatoes.  If you feel like it, a splash of balsamic vinegar could go in now.
  4. Cover and place on a low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once its ready the source should have thickened, giving back some of the oil in a rich sheen.  The veg should all be soft and creamy.  If its watery, reduce with the lid off until its perfect.
  5. Taste, season. If tender and ready then scatter with torn basil and serve.

img_0458

Lamb chops

Ingredients

  • Lamb chops (3 per person)
  • Garlic (1/2 a clove per chop)
  • Thyme/rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Method

  1. In a pestle and mortar bash the garlic, the leaves of the herbs, with a glut of olive oil and a good pinch of salt and a grind of pepper, into an oily paste
  2. Cover the chops with the paste (works best to use your hands)
  3. Ideally leave to marinade for a few hours (not essential)
  4. Place under a hot grill for 5 minutes each side (this will cook them medium with crispy fat)
  5. Rest for a few minutes prior to servingimg_0462

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