I wanted to make a ratatouille to go with my roasted chicken, but I cannot eat eggplant. My son-in-law, Chris, is off starches, so that means no potatoes or rice. I did not even want to use tomatoes, but I was looking for a vegetable side dish that is large, varied, interesting, and to fill people up who are not eating starches. Many of the recipes for ratatouille, that I have found on-line, cook the vegetables to death.
Note: Yes, turning some vegetables into a sauce can be a good thing, but I wanted something that would taste fresher and still retained some bite—a very California Cuisine style of cooking.
One of the defining features of a good ratatouille is sautéing the vegetables separately before assembling the final dish. By cooking the ingredients separately, the individual pieces of vegetable retain their distinctive tastes, instead of combining their flavors. A ratatouille is then slowly baked for hours. For my dish I decided that after sautéing, I would only bake my vegetable mixture long enough to re-warm and finish off cooking the vegetables.
Karl’s Rattatouille California
4+ Tbs. butter, separate uses (olive oil for Vegan)
½ lb. Crimini mushrooms, halved
½ medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped (about ¾ cup)
1 leek, white part only, coarsely chopped
1 cup green cabbage, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
½ cup green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 cup Haricots verts, cut into 1½ inch pieces
⅓ cup dry chardonnay
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. Kosher salt
1. Add one tablespoon of butter to a sauté pan over medium high heat.
2. Sauté the mushrooms until starting to pick up some color and transfer them to a baking casserole.
Tip: While you want a bit of browning, you do not want to cook any of the sautéed vegetables completely. You are looking for around 75-80% doneness—just short of tender crisp.
3. Without cleaning the sauté pan, add more butter to the pan and cook the onions. Transfer the onions to the casserole.
4. Continue sautéing, separately, the leek, cabbage, celery, and bell pepper and transferring them to the casserole.
Tip: Add butter as needed.
5. Add the green beans to the pan, add 2 tablespoons of wine, and cover the pan. Steam the beans for 4-5 minutes and transfer them to the casserole.
6. Add a bit more butter and sauté the garlic for one minute, until fragrant.
7. Add the rest of the wine to deglaze the pan and add the thyme, cook for one minute.
8. Sprinkle the pepper and salt over the vegetables in the casserole and pour the wine over all.
9. Gently toss to mix and coat the vegetables with the wine sauce.
Tip: Taste a vegetable and add more pepper and salt to taste.
10. Transfer the casserole to a 425º F oven for 10-15 minutes.
Tip: Toss the vegetables twice during baking to redistribute the wine sauce.
Note: You want the vegetables just tender crisp, not overdone.
11. Toss a final time and serve the vegetables hot in the casserole.