Romanian rataouille (Romania)

Serves 4 


  • 900g aubergines
  • 1kg fresh ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley and fresh dill
  • 2 onions
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 350g white leek
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh or dired
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 strips of lemon zest

Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC or Gas Mark 3. Cut the aubergines into large dice, sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside for at least half an hour, then rinse and squeeze out excess of moisture.
Meanwhile, plunge the tomatoes into boiling water, then rapidily into cold. Skin and chop them.
Roughly chop the fresh herbs, onion and green pepper.
Soften the chopped onion and garlic in half the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the aubergines. leeks, green pepper, dill and half of the parsley, and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, lemon zest, tomato purée and sugar and stir again. Pour over the remaining oil and transfer, if necessary, to an ovenproof casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid.
Cook in the oven, tightly covered, for 1 and 1/2 hours or until perfectly tender.
This magnificent vegetable mixture can be served hot, garnished with the remaining herbs, but it shows off its flavours best when cold.
Try it with cold chicken or turkey, or warm cornbread.

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