Garden, Plant, Cook!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Ratatouille a New "Creamy Soup" + "Made Overs"

Dear Folks,

I harvested a lovely eggplant (Listarda) that I have been watching, plus some crookneck squash with Ratatouille in mind. Ratatouille is a French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice, and sometimes referred to as ratatouille niçoise. Wikipedia

First --- Watch for the October Planting Tips in the next post ---

One of the traditional ways of making Ratatouille is to layer the eggplant, squash and tomatoes over a bell pepper base "sauce".

I don't know about you but I LOVE sweet peppers and munch them like candy.  Particularly the Gypsy aka Lipstick variety with lovely colors of yellow, red and orange.

With the "creamy soup" kick I have been on using potatoes and a focus vegetable to make wonderful combinations, and I have been wanting to try a sweet pepper version of my Creamy soups, so  I decided a Creamy Sweet Pepper Soup would act as a very nice base for a slowly roasted Ratatouille.  The "Creamy" is from the potatoes and their starch.  Feel free to substitute sweet potatoes and adjust seasonings accordingly.

This is another awesome soup and the ratatouille turned out almost velvety with the slow roasting.  I hope you enjoy the "Made Over" ideas for using the leftovers.

 Creamy Sweet Pepper Soup
1 medium size potato (small chunks equal to about 1 1/2 cups) - I do NOT peel my potatoes.
2 cups of diced sweet peppers, seeds and core removed
2 cups water

2-4 tablespoons of minced onion (or garlic, shallot etc.)
2 Tablespoons avocado oil
Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried Thyme
Limequat, lime or lemon
1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil for topping
Optional:  4 ounces of Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Ratatouille for topping --roasted eggplant, squash and tomatoes, tossed with 1 tablespoon of oil, seasoned with Salt and Pepper and Dried Thyme roasted ahead of time at 350 for approximately 75 minutes until all are tender, stir once or twice to mix up and keep from burning

An immersion blender works well for the soup.

Directions For Soup

Heat oven to 450 and prepare a pan with aluminum foil for roasting the focus vegetable

Prepare the vegetable.
Wash potato, remove any blemishes, do not peel, cut into chunks, do not rinse (you want the starch), and add to water, set aside.
Prepare onion (garlic etc.) of choice
Prepare or have ready the complimentary herb or spice mix you are using
Have your choice of garnishes ready and set aside
Shred cheese if using, set aside

In the pot you will cook the soup in, warm 1 tablespoon of fat/oil of choice and toss the peppers with the oil - in the pot.  Spread the vegetable out on the prepared pan and season with salt and pepper and dried thyme.

Add the last tablespoon of fat to the pot, and cook the onion of choice on low.  Put the pan of vegetables into the oven and set the time for 5 minutes.

Stir the onion and do not let it burn.
When the timer goes off, add the potatoes and water to the pot, bring to a boil, covered.
Stir the pan of vegetables and reset the timer for 5 minutes.
Lower the pot to a gentle low boil still covered.

When the timer goes off, add the roasted vegetable to the pot, add any herbs or spices you are going to use, cover and boil on low for 7 minutes or until the potato is tender.

Remove from heat and using an emersion blender, puree the soup - I like to leave some chunks in for texture.

Divide the soup into bowls, top with ratatouille, shredded cheese and shredded basil.

Serve and enjoy.

Made Over Soup and Ratatouille

"Made Over" is an old fashioned term for using up leftovers.  I knew I would have leftover sweet pepper soup and ratatouille, so I made plans on how to use them the next two evening meals.

Creamy Sweet Pepper Soup w/Pistachios and Bacon
1/4 cup of pistachios for each serving
1 slice of crisp cooked bacon for each serving

Prepare the soup to the blended stage.  This soup re-heats nicely if you are using leftover.  I microwave for 90 seconds - or more depending on the amount you have.

Serve up in bowls and top with 1/4 cup of pistachios and 1 strip of crisp bacon crumbled, each.

Ratatouille and Orzo
Left over Ratatouille
1/2 cup of Orzo
1 cup of water
Red onion, minced
1 tablespoon of uncured bacon fat
Parmesan Cheese shredded and made into crisps (small piles on parchment paper, microwaved for 30 seconds - allow to cool and set aside)
1 slice of Salami microwaved to remove extra fat (approximately 45-60 seconds on paper towels - watch so they do not burn)

Heat fat in a sauce pan and saute onion for 5 minutes.
Add orzo and stir to coat for 1 minute.
Add water and bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally.
Set time for 9 minutes, with 4 minutes left, remove lid and stir regularly to make creamy.  Do not let it burn.  With 2 minutes left stir in the ratatouille. 
When done, serve with Parmesan crisp and slivered salami.

I hope you like the sound of these recipes enough to give them a try yourselves. Let me know if you to!

If you like my recipes - check out my cookbooks available on the sidebar here

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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