Recipe for donkey-assisted ratatouille

Ratatouille recipe (serves 8)

1 1/4 cup clarified butter or olive oil;
4 large tomatoes (plum tomatoes are best, but any kind will do);
2 lb aubergines, cut in 1 inch cubes;
2 large onions, sliced thinly;
3 peppers cut into 1 inch cubes;
4 courgettes, cut into 3/4 inch cubes;
9 garlic cloves;
1 cup chopped parsley;
20 basil leaves, cut in half;
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt

Gathering the Ingredients

First try to spot the vegetables you need among the enormous weeds which obscure them.

For reasons which will become clear in stage 3, a double pannier donkey basket is used to collect the vegetables

For reasons which will become clear in stage 3, a double pannier donkey basket is used to collect the vegetables

Here are some examples of vegetables hiding among the weeds. Some may need a lot of pulling and tugging to come out. Aubergines do not give up without a struggle.

Even a small aubergine can be quite stroppy when provoked

Even a small aubergine can be quite stroppy when provoked

Peppers are particularly crafty

Peppers are particularly crafty

In a short while, if you do not allow the vegetables to outwit you, you will have a huge quantity of lovely produce in the baskets.

DSC_2041

At this point it may be useful to ask a kind and helpful cooperative donkey to help you carry the produce to the kitchen. Rubí demonstrates this stage of the donkey-assisted ratatouille preparation:

DSC_2042

This can be the most difficult stage of the entire ratatouille recipe and caution is needed. What may go wrong here is that rood and norty donkeys may attack the kind and helpful donkey, attempting to eat the basket, eat the ratatouille ingredients and destabilise the entire load, tipping it onto the ground. Typically, one may try to cause a diversion while the other eats the ratatouille ingredients. Morris and Aitana demonstrate the mugging of Rubí.

A rood and norty Morris donkey creates a diversion by eating the basket...

A rood and norty Morris donkey creates a diversion by eating the basket…

DSC_2047

If this happens, the best thing to do is snatch the pannier baskets off the good and helpful donkey and run away quickly, pursued by rood and norty donkeys. Luckily, Aitana is a bit slow-witted and took too long to decide which vegetables to eat first; so the snatching of the basket was achieved without a struggle and with all the vegetables intact.

Matilde arrives on the scene too late to further endanger the ratatouille ingredients, which have now been removed to a place of safety

Matilde arrives on the scene too late to further endanger the ratatouille ingredients, which have now been removed to a place of safety

The rest of the procedure for this recipe is quite straightforward.

Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute. Remove them from the boiling water and transfer them to a bowl of cold water. When cold enough to handle, gently remove the skin. Chop the tomatoes and put them in a large pot with 1/3 cup of the oil with the parsley, basil and garlic. Cover the pot partially and simmer while stirring from time to time for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are well broken down.

While the tomatoes are simmering, sprinkle some sea salt on the eggplant cubes and put them in a colander in the kitchen sink. This step helps remove some of the moisture in the aubergines. Leave them in the colander while the tomatoes are simmering.
Soften the onions in 3 tbsp of the oil or fat for about 10 minutes with some sea salt still while the tomatoes are simmering.
Remove the onions with a slotted spoon, set aside and cook the peppers in the same manner with a little more oil or fat.
Remove the peppers with a slotted spoon, put them with the onions and repeat the process with the courgette, but only for 6 minutes this time.
Remove peppers and set aside with the other vegetables. Pat the aubergines dry and repeat the process, cooking them for about 7 minutes, again adding some oil or fat each time.
Once the tomato preparation has simmered on its own long enough, add the previously cooked vegetables, season generously with sea salt and black pepper, cover and simmer for about another hour, until all the vegetables are very soft.

Serve hot, warm or cold, with a bit of extra basil or chopped parsley on top, if desired.

This is NOT what it should look like.  (See Jabba's comment below.)  I accidentally used a photo of the Vatican II version.

This is NOT what it should look like. (See Jabba’s comment below.) I accidentally used a photo of the Vatican II version.

Alternative preparation

I am reliably informed, by a witch in good standing who shops in Waitrose, that all of the above is quite unnecessary and ratatouille comes in a can. If you have a can opener you may wish to experiment with this method. (I don’t have a can opener but I will get one soon, in case the rood and norty unhelpful donkeys win next time.)

Acknowledgment:
The above is a slightly modified version of the original ratatouille recipe found here: http://paleodietlifestyle.com/ratatouille-recipe/

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About Gareth Thomas

A fairly mixed career starting as an aircraft technician and later Franciscan friar eventually led into secondary school teaching. I settled in Spain where I teach Geography part-time and spend the rest of my time looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I have three blogs: a geography blog and a donkey blog begun in 2015, plus an old donkey blog which ran from 2010 to 2015.
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9 Responses to Recipe for donkey-assisted ratatouille

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    I’d double or treble the tomatoes, use far less basil, add some sprigs of rosemary, and instead of blanching the tomatoes, simply fish the skins out of the ratatouille while it’s cooking.

    Number of courgettes is variable, but yours look nice and thick, so 4 is fine …

    DON’T remove the moisture from the aubergines, some of it will evaporate during cooking, the rest of it will seep into the ratatouille and add its deliciousness to the mix !!!

    I’d actually start cooking the peppers before anything else, as they take longer to cook than any of the other ingredients.

    Parsley and butter ? No.

    Olive oil, and don’t be stingy with it !!!

    The final concoction should be ready when the aubergines have completely broken down and liquefied themselves — which is why you need to start softening the peppers first.

    It should be a mix of solids, semi-solids, and oil-impregnated liquid. If it’s too dry, it’s either been overcooked or you didn’t use enough tomatoes !!!

    The photo is NOT what it should look like.

    Like this, instead : http://recetteratatouille.fr/images/stories/recette-ratatouille-provencale.jpg

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Thank you, jabba, but i have a horrible feeling that this is not the end. Now you have commented, Benedict Carter will undoubtedly show up to contradict your recipe. For a start, it should not just be in Latin and ad orientam, but the chef should be consecrated by an SSPX bishop in good standing.

  3. OK, bruvver rabit, I is just goin out to buy some donkeys from Siansbury’s, as it’s clear dat dese will be needed for de recipe.

  4. Frere Rabit says:

    Indeed Eccles, Sainsbury’s donkeys are best. Anything from Lidl could have horse in it. But examine the label carefully. “Kind and helpful” donkeys are best for this, and a donkey labeled “rood and norty” could ruin the whole recipe. Or you may want to simply follow the advice of Jadis, who recommends a can of ratatouille from Waitrose.

  5. Rosemary says:

    I shall have to buy the ingredients from a local peasant lady. The donkey bit is a problem. Passage to my tower in a bus instead could ruin the flavour.

  6. Frere Rabit says:

    Hello Rosemary. Cait and Carl enjoyed their time in Assisi (except Carl says he is “all churched out”…) The ratatouille theme continues on Eccles blog, where controversy about his identity rages among rood and norty people who are behaving like vegetables. Immense fun but quite pointless.

    The FFI situation is very worrying.

  7. Catholic Glasses says:

    Reblogged this on Catholic Glasses and commented:
    Looks good!

  8. Jonty says:

    Canned ratatouille is nasty stuff. Yours sounds amazing!

  9. Pingback: Mosko Moto Reckless 80 Pannier System | JasonWD

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