|vegetarian delight: colourful casserole of summer vegetables|
The weather outside is 30+ degrees so why would I feel like a hot casserole of veggies? Well, it all started the other day when I mentioned the word 'ratatouille': I casually said do you remember the days when all we did with aubergine was make ratatouille? That got me thinking...
Personally I have been on quite an aubergine journey since those days! How about you? Have your boundaries been pushed? Have you broadened your aubergine scope? In Turkey, patlıcan is the queen of the summer vegetables so it isn't surprising that there are so many wonderful ways in which to prepare it. Not that there is anything wrong with ratatouille .... but it is just one way.
Anyway, I just love vegetables so I really did feel like cooking up some sort of medley. I have already posted on something very similar with lamb but this one is vegetables pure and simple that you cook slowly for over an hour until it reaches a glorious, thick, fragrant consistency. The taste is enhanced by the golden olive oil in which it's cooked. It contains all the summer vegetables including green beans and okra. The peeling and chopping is a bit endless but it is oh so worth it. It couldn't be more seasonal if it tried!
|a colourful casserole of mixed vegetables|
Here are the ingredients:
Vegetarian Delight: Colourful Casserole of Summer Vegetables
adapted from a recipe by Rena Salaman in
'The Cooking of Greece and Turkey'
Pre-heat oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.
500g/1lb aubergines/patlıcan, peeled in stripes and cut in large cubes
4 tbsp vegetable oil
150ml/1/4 pint olive oil, best quality
2 medium onions, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
250g/8oz okra (ladies' fingers)/ bamya, peeled carefully* SEE BELOW
250g/8oz green beans, trimmed and cut in 2-3 pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 red or green peppers, chopped
500g/1lb courgettes, cut in large cubes
250g/8oz tomatoes, peeled and chopped, OR a 250g/8oz can, chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano or thyme/kekik
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp tomato purée, diluted in 150ml /1/4 pint hot water
salt and pepper.
*You need to take care when preparing okra: you don't want to release those sticky juices inside. Therefore, cut off the stalk and then, as if sharpening a pencil, take a sharp knife round the hard little cap, leaving a pointed end.
|here are the okra, with the ends carefully peeled away|
TIP: When buying, don't choose the very small ones nor the large ones: go for middle of the road.
|assembling all the vegetables|
- Soak the aubergines in salted water for 30 minutes; then rinse and drain the pieces, squeezing them gently. NB This soaking is to prevent too much absorption of oil.
- Using a frying pan, heat the vegetable oil and fry the aubergines briskly, stirring continuously until the flesh is pale golden.
- Remove from the heat and place on paper towelling.
- Heat the olive oil and lightly brown the onions and garlic in a large saucepan; add the okra, beans, potatoes, peppers, and courgettes and sauté together for 5-6 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients, and cook in the pre-heated oven for approximagely 1hr 20 minutes. NB You could also cook this, covered, over a gentle heat on top of the oven for about 30 minutes.
- Stir occasionally and add a little water if needed. NB if your tomatoes are juicy, this probably won't be necessary.
|vegetarian delight: colourful casserole of summer vegetables with a slice of sough dough bread on the side|
PS If there is too much olive oil in this recipe for your taste, you could simply layer up all the vegetables BUTTT as this recipe points out, '..... it is the essence of the dish'!.