Posts Tagged ‘zucchini’

All in the pot – late summer vegetable casserole with sausage

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

As the days grow shorter, the temperatures fall and the maple trees turn red and yellow, I cherish those last few flings with fresh garden vegetables. So I’m a regular at farmers markets – the closest to garden produce you can get in a big city, unless you grow your own. Colorful peppers, eggplants, squash and zucchini, string beans, tomatoes – they all get dragged home to be transformed into salads, used with pasta, stir fries and stews. I just counted three bowls with different types of tomatoes on my kitchen counter – as usual I’ve overdone it. The same with the peppers and the zucchini – I have a mix of yellow, green and red ones staring at me. There is also a disturbing orange cauliflower that scares me every time I open the fridge.

At this time of the year I stay away from root vegetables, which I associate with cold, gray weather, and try to use the seasonal ones in simple dishes. I limit the seasoning to salt and pepper, with fresh thyme, rosemary and a lot of garden mint, parsley and cilantro (coriander). With fresh-from-the-field produce I don’t want to overdo it.

veg_casserole

The dish I’ve made is not really a stew, as I didn’t cook it for a long time. Actually the shorter you cook it the better. It resembles Provençal ratatouille, but all is cooked in one pot and I use whatever is in my fridge, including some leftover beer (could be wine or nothing at all). If I had I would throw in some green tomatoes, too. This colorful fuss-free dish can be served as main, or as side to roasted chicken, fish or chops. Needless to say, for a vegetarian version leave the sausage out.

Vegetable casserole with sausage

  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 4-6 small fresh Polish or Italian sausages – cut into 3 inch (7 cm) pieces
  • 3 sweet banana peppers, cut in rounds
  • 2 handfuls of yellow or green string beens – trimmed and cut 2 inches long (4 cm)
  • 3 small zucchini – green and yellow mixed – quartered lengthwise and cut to bite size
  • 1 medium eggplant, quartered lengthwise and cut into bite size pieces (if it has brown seeds, salt it and wait 30 minutes to get rid of bitterness)
  • 1 pound (500 gr) firm Roma tomatoes – quartered lengthwise
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • leaves from 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup beer or wine (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro (coriander)

Sweat the onion in 2 tbsp olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add sausage and cook 3 minutes. Add the peppers, beens and eggplant, the rosemary and thyme, season it with salt and pepper and cook on medium low heat for 5-7 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes stirring carefully not to mash the vegetables too much. Here you can add the last 1 tbsp of olive oil if too dry. The tomatoes come last with the beer or wine if you are using it. Increase heat to medium and cook another 10 minutes until the juices in the pot are reduced by half. Serve sprinkled with parsley and country style bread to soak the juices. It tastes even better the next day.


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