If we were the sort to make New Years’s resolutions, deciding to plan meals rather than toss together something quick from what we have on hand- would be one. When COVID quarantines resulted in us binge-watching cooking and baking shows, I started occasionally to doctor familiar recipes with coriander and cumin. After trying a recipe with some different aromatic spices and holding back (for me) chiles – I am allergic to them – we started to think about planning meals for the week to eat better at home. A highlight of this week was a recipe torn out of a year-old Better Homes and Gardens magazine; a meatless dish called Ratatouille Cassoulet. With the exception of red bell pepper, which I purposely left out, the dish was prepared exactly as written. Here’s the recipe from BHG:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons za’atar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
- 4 ounces dried flageolet, cannellini, or other small white beans, soaked overnight and drained (2/3 cup)
- 1 8-ounce eggplant, thinly sliced
- 1 8-ounce zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 8-ounce yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ cup panko or other breadcrumbs
Directions Checklist Step 1 Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until tender, 8 minutes. Stir in za'atar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and beans; increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Step 2 Working your way around outer edge of skillet, alternate slices of eggplant, zucchini, and squash on top of bean mixture. Continue working in concentric circles to cover bean mixture. Arrange pepper on top. Step 3 Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Step 4 Cover skillet and bake 1 hour. Uncover; sprinkle with panko. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake another hour, until bread crumbs are browned and beans are tender. Step 5 Let cool 15 minutes. Serve with bread and/or grain of your choice. Serves 6.
I dedicated this post to Comet as my kitchen helper this week. It was the first time that one of my dogs tasted something I cooked before I served it. A bit of the veggie skidded off the spoon and onto the kitchen floor as I was serving it. Whether he realized that it was a vegetable and not meat, the morsel of tomato, breadcrumb and squash was inhaled. When Sheri and I ate that night, we found it just as tasty.