Wednesday, April 21, 2010

cooked and roasted mediterranean vegetables

I had planned this evening to make little small lamb koftas but as I set about preparing, I realised that my vegetable basket was full to the brim with bits and pieces of things which were half-eaten and wrapped in cling film.  So, what started out as simply cooking dinner, ended up in a purging of all things green, all things sprouting and all things simply crying out to be eaten. 
This recipe evolved out of the necessity to eat the uneaten and feed the unfed.

I unearthed the following vegetables :

3 small charlotte potatoes, peeled and chopped
half an aubergine, chopped
half a butternut squash, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 garlic cloves, sliced
6 baby onions, peeled and left whole
1 large onion (it was sprouting so I cut out the green centre shoots), roughly diced
1 small hot green chilli, finely sliced
6 tblsps light olive oil or vegetable oil
a pinch of sugar
200ml hot water
Sea salt and black pepper

Firstly, it is much easier if you prepare all the vegetables in advance and try to chop them all approximately the same size to ensure that some dont cook more quickly than others.

Heat about 3 tblsps of the oil in a large frying pan.  Fry the onions, both whole baby ones and chopped, for five minutes, then add the garlic and chillis and fry for another few minutes until the smell is strong and sweet.  Then add the squash and fry for five minutes.  The squash should go a lovely golden colour and start to soften slightly.
Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon so that you do not add too much of the oil to the pot.  Place it in a large casserole dish with a lid and turn the heat on low.  To the onion and squash add the potatoes, tomatoes, some sugar and let it heat up.  Meanwhile, add the remaining 3 tblsps of oil to the frying pan and gently fry the courgette, beans and aubergine for about five minutes.  Tip this all in to the other vegetables in the casserole and add about 200ml of water. Let this simmer slowly for approximately 30 minutes.
With the slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables into a roasting tin and pour in about 2/3rds of the juices around it.

Place on the middle oven shelf for another 30 minutes at 200 degrees until the vegetables have roasted and most of the liquid has disappeared.  We ate this on its own, sprinkled with chopped coriander.

The beauty of this dish is that there is no set recipe and you could add almost any vegetable. The overall effect is something which seems, on paper, to be overcooked, but in reality it tastes amazingly rich and flavoursome.  The squash holds its individual bite-size shape but is so soft it is almost purree.

I think that to make a more substantial main course you could add some cooked butter beans and perhaps some black, oily, pitted olives and perhaps a small sprinkle of sweet smoked paprika before it goes into the oven.  It could also be served with rice or you could just bring up the number of potatoes.
I experiment with this quite a lot as a main course and as a side dish but squash and courgettes feature every time.

And since we were in the spirit of eating all things which should have been eaten a long time ago, my husband cracked open a cupboard-aged 28 month old Christmas pudding.  Despite my warnings that it may contain spore of something deadly, he did something literally deadly with it.  He sliced it, fried it in a large amount of butter and drizzled it with double cream.

Delicious and never out of date or season, or so I am told!

1 comment:

  1. well you need something to counteract all that healthyness