Spicy Ratatouille





 Yup, I totally just made up that name.  This recipe was inspired by the garden FULL of tomatoes a few weeks ago.  We had somewhere around 8 lbs of them.  We also had an eggplant, summer squash, corn and zucchini. 


So I turned to my trusty cookbooks and found ratatouille from the Moosewood cookbook.  My mother-in-law gave it to us (it’s her old copy) and it’s an awesome reference for vegetarian recipes.  (www.moosewoodrestaurant.com.)  What can I say? Those crazy hippies can cook! 

What I thought was so cool is that ratatouille was basically made up by French women (and men?)  that had all kinds of garden veggies in the summer, and needed a new way to use them.  Anyone that grows zucchini knows that pain!  It’s a rustic stew that needs no real recipe, just an understanding of flavors.  I totally pictured myself making this in the French countryside, possibly on a vineyard, with lots of baguettes and curing meat in the kitchen.  (What? I have an active imagination!)


Anyway, so I had all these fresh veggies, and I basically chopped them all up, and threw them in the trust slow cooker with 2 bay leaves, some water, and salt & pepper.  After an hour I added some garlic & cumin.  


I tasted it, and while it did taste fresh, it really didn’t have a “bite” to it.  We like to have lots of spice in our food.  So I looked around the kitchen & found a package of Gaspar’s chourizo. (I feel like being married to a Portuguese-American guy, I could add chourizo or linguica to anything.  Example: Eggs, ratatouille, sandwiches, brownies…ok not really brownies.)  I decide to take a risk and add it in.  


This is what it looked like:

The chourizo added in texture & created a spicy broth that was absolutely delicious.  We had it for dinner a few nights & froze the rest for lunches. 

This was my first time taking a recipe & modifying it so significantly.  I’m so happy it paid off!! Now to figure out how to grow chourizo in the garden…

So here’s the recipe:
1 large eggplant (I didn’t peel mine but I would next time)
Frozen diced peppers
2 c corn
2 small summer squash
2 small zucchini
Assorted spices
1 package (1 lb) of chourzio
Chop all into 1 inch-ish cubes/slives (I didn’t do this & the eggplant never seemed to catch up with the other veggies)
Slow cooker on high for 4 hours did the trick.
Serve w/ bread to sop up the remaining broth, and a good glass of wine.
I recommend imagining yourself in the set of Beauty and the Beast while you make this, but that’s up to you.  ๐Ÿ™‚
Enjoy! 
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