The inspiration for this vegetable stew came to me during a holiday in the South of France. I ordered a ratatouille in a restaurant, which was delicious! At the end of the evening, the chef was happy to share his secret, which was using pure ingredients and simmering for a very long time...
The possibilities of what you can do with vegetables are endless; cooking, stir-frying, roasting, steaming, pickling, or using them raw. But when do you take the time to make a real vegetable stew? An advantage of simmering for a long time is that the released flavours are fully absorbed and blended beautifully.
The only thing you really need for this delicious vegetable stew is patience... Chopping the fresh vegetables takes a bit of work, but after that it is plain sailing!
You stew over low heat with the lid on the pan. The vegetables in this stew are meant to be cooked in their own cooking liquid. Enjoy the delicious scents while stewing the vegetables and after cooking, the intense taste! Olives are an important ingredient in the stew. Don't forget to add them, as they bring out the salty taste in this dish.
There are potatoes in the vegetable stew, which you could leave out. It is a good idea to serve the stew with rice. You can also make the stew a day in advance. It even improves the taste! Just reheat gently when required.
- The order of the vegetables is important. It has to do with cooking, bringing flavours together and the release of moisture:
- Put 4 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan with a thick base.
- Put the potatoes in the pan first.
- Then half the tomatoes.
- Then half the onions.
- Place the pieces of eggplant and zucchini on top.
- Press 2 garlic cloves out on top.
- Then add the rest of the onions.
- Then all the pepper pieces.
- And half of the olives.
- Press out the last 2 cloves of garlic.
- Add the rest of the tomatoes.
- Finally, the last olives.
- Sprinkle the oregano over the vegetables, add a little salt (not too much because the olives are already salty)
- Pour the last tablespoon of olive oil over the vegetables.
- Put a tight lid on the pan and put the stew on the lowest heat.
- Let the stew vegetable stew for 2 to 3 hours, simmering gently.
- Before serving the vegetable stew, taste for salt and only add more if you really need to. Season with freshly ground pepper.
Tips from the author
The recipe is for four people. Because the vegetable stew takes quite a long time to cook, I like to make double. I double the recipe except for the potatoes. It then just fits in the largest size casserole dish. Unexpected visitors can easily join in. And what is leftover, we just eat the next day for lunch with Mediterranean bread.