A traditional French vegetable stew

To be served for 2-3 on its own, accompanied by garlic bread, or 4-6 as part of a pasta bake. 

  • One white, one red onion, and a red pepper, diced
  • Two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • One aubergine, one courgette, finely sliced
  • One tin of passata, one of chopped tomatoes
  • Optional, several small chestnut mushrooms or two field mushrooms, rosemary

Sweat the onions in olive oil, adding small amounts of water to cook off until they are sweet and translucent. Season before stirring in the garlic and the diced pepper. When soft, add in the courgette, followed by the aubergine. If adding mushrooms or rosemary (or both) throw them in now. Cover with the passata and chopped tomatoes, and leave to simmer for two hours. If you don’t have enough time for this, splash in some balsamic vinegar and extra pepper for a convincing cheat to slow cooked flavour.

My review: Best when you have an hour to kill and a bottle of red wine to get through. If some makes it into the stew, all the better. If you must add meat, add some chorizo between the garlic and the peppers. Though slightly laborious, the care you lavish upon simple vegetables means you will likely get emotionally attached to this dish – it will become the dish you make for the people you love most to cheer them up after a rainy day.

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