Sunday, 30 May 2010

Simple Ratatouille

There are many ways to make Ratatouille, and the ingredients can vary. For example I don't care for aubergines so I always leave them out, sometimes I add peas, sometimes sweetcorn, sometimes I mix it up with chicken pieces, and sometimes I may add chickpeas or mangetouts or french beans, etc.

This is my basic Ratatouille recipe

500g carton of tomato passata (sieved tomatoes). A tin of chopped tomatoes can be used if you like
1 x courgette, thickly sliced
4-6 x tomatoes (quantity depends on size), deseeded and chopped into quarters
200g tin of garden peas
1 x red pepper, deseeded and chopped into large pieces
1 x large onion - preferably a red onion but a white one will do, chopped into large slices
1 x clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 x red chili, deseeded & finely chopped or a pinch of chili flakes
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

I like to cook my ratatouille so that the vegetables are still crunchy when served. Apart from still preserving the flavour in the vegetables its also much nicer to eat like that rather than mushy like the shop bought stuff.

  • Heat oil in a large casserole dish. Add the garlic & chili / chili flakes and allow them to sweat for 10 minutes on a low heat.
  • Add the pepper, onion and courgette. Season with salt and pepper, stir and cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on.
  • Pour in the tomato passata, chopped tomatoes & peas, stir and check the seasoning. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the basil just before turning off the heat, then serve.
 The above recipe goes great with sausages, pork or chicken and I generally serve it with mashed potato, although new potatoes coated in butter & chives are a great accompaniment as well.

Poaching Chicken

This is more of a technique than a recipe. Poached chicken is a great way to cook boneless, skinless chicken as no oil or fat is required, yet the end result is succulent, flavourful low-fat chicken worthy of any recipe.

The advantage of poached chicken is that it's lower in sodium, and is likely more moist than a chicken that's been grilled or fried.

Your poaching liquid can be as simple as plain water. Admittedly, this doesn't add flavour, but your chicken will be succulent and tender, and perfect to use as a base for a number of recipes that call for cooked chicken.

Still, adding flavour can turn ordinary chicken into something quite extraordinary. Your poaching liquid can be pretty much anything from chicken stock, beef stock, white wine, water infused with fresh or dried herbs and chopped vegetables, fruit juices or light coconut milk.

How to Make Poached Chicken Breasts

The keys to poaching are: the size of the pan, the volume of liquid and the cooking temperature.
  • Place the chicken breasts in a pot that's just about large enough to fit them in one layer.
  • Add your chosen poaching liquid so that it completely covers the chicken by at least a half inch to an inch.
  • After bringing the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to a bare simmer so that only an occasional bubble breaks the surface. At this point, partly cover the pot, cook for about 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, leaving the chicken to finish cooking in the hot water for 10-15 more minutes.
  • Remove the chicken, then enjoy it warm or refrigerate it for later use. Slice or shred your poached chicken depending on what you want to use it for.


About Me

Age: 40...something. Nowhere near the back half though! When I'm not doing nothing I'm usually doing something else, probably involved with working as an Estimator for a partitioning manufacturer & installer in the U.K.