Autumn Chestnut Ratatouille
“I often talk about food and friendship, sunshine food, food you enjoy cooking so much that you can taste smiles and laughter as you eat it. In summer, Ratatouille encapsulates this philosophy in a brightly coloured carnival of tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes and peppers. These vegetables are all sunshine and ratatouille is pure happiness so I’ve decided to extend its season. I’ve added porcini and chestnuts and I’ve replaced the aubergines and courgettes with mushrooms and sweet potatoes, it works wonderfully. Ratatouille is a recipe to embrace, to inhale and taste as you go, fun is the main ingredient, enjoy the melting mixture of garlic, onions, peppers and olive oil, toss the sweet potatoes with abandon. On a practical side, the ratatouille freezes brilliantly, make tons. You can serve this on it’s own, with eggs, fish, meat, pasta, quinoa, lentils, in a sandwich….”
By Alex Mackay
Suitable for dairy-free, gluten-free, vegans and vegetarians
- 2 large onions, peeled, cut in 2cm chunks
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- 3 large red peppers, halved, de-seeded, cut in 2cm chunks
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 100ml water
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 4 strips orange peel, removed with a vegetable peeler
- 20g Merchant Gourmet Dried Porcini Mushrooms, chopped finely
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 900g sweet potatoes, peeled, diced 2cm
- 200g chestnut mushrooms
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 x 180g pouches of Merchant Gourmet Simply Roasted Chestnuts
- Basil leaves
- Salt, caster sugar, cayenne pepper
- Get a large saucepan. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, olive oil, water, tomato puree orange peel and Porcini mushrooms. Add 1 tsp salt, half a tsp each of sugar and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Put the pan onto a medium heat. Put the lid on. Sweat for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tinned tomatoes with their juice. Bring to the boil.
- While the onion mixture sweats, heat a large frying pan with the vegetable oil. Add the sweet potato chunks in a single layer. Fry for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. Season with salt. Add the fried sweet potato, chestnuts and mushrooms to the onion mixture once it has sweated for 12 minutes and you’ve added the tomatoes. Put a lid on the pan. Simmer over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Lift the lid and stir from time to time to make sure the ratatouille doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Take the lid off and simmer for 10 minutes more or until the vegetables are all cooked through.
- Season with salt, sugar to balance the tomatoes’ acidity and cayenne pepper for a little bite. Whatever you serve it with, scatter a few basil leaves over the top.
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