Sunday, 27 July 2014

Slow Cooked Vegetable Ragu

Recipe time!

This is one of my stock recipes for having something delicious, healthy, quick and ready to eat during the week, when we’re all busy and the last thing I want to do when I get home from a ten hour day is chop more veg!

I make this slow cook vegetable ragu every other week at home. Instead of making it this week, I'm blogging it, after a special request from a local yoga teacher. A big batch usually goes on the stove on a Sunday afternoon while I’m making dinner, and consists of whatever vegetables are knocking around in the fridge drawer. Core stock ingredients and often a few Mediterranean veg that we all eat regularly like peppers, courgettes, aubergines and the like.

The ragu makes a great pasta sauce on it’s own, but I often add a veggie mince for a Bolognese or use it to make lasagne or an aubergine bake, sometimes with cooked puy lentils. I'm making some gnocchi to go with ours this week, or how about ricotta dumplings. It’s great for a ready-made homemade dinner after a long day at work and I can hide a few veg the teens are less keen on (teen girl isn’t keen on cooked carrots and teen boy doesn’t like aubergines or mushrooms as he thinks they have a weird texture). No matter, the secret to this sauce is to cook slowly and for a long time.  A Creuset style pot is best, and once the ragu is simmering, put it on the smallest gas ring on low.

The ingredients vary. Start with 2-3 onions, fine chopped. Then any number of the following that you may find lurking in that fridge drawer, all diced…
Aubergine, carrot, leeks, peppers, celery, mushroom, courgette, fennel (no more than half a bulb or it will overpower the flavour) etc etc

Saute all your veg in a large heavy bottomed pan, with a good splash of pomace oil. This needs a gentle sauté, for at least 15 mins, so that the veg is a bit sticky and soft. Then add water. The next part all depends on quantities of veg used. The more veg, the more water and seasoning you will need. I added 2 litres to the pan above. Add the following seasoning per litre of water:

1 tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp black pepper
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary
small handful of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tins of tomatoes
1-2 tbsp dark soy sauce or 1/4 tsp marmite
little squeeze of lemon or vinegar

Then bring to full simmer, and turn down heat to lowest. Place a lid on the pan, and leave to cook gently for 1 - 2 hours.  Check up on it every 40 minutes or so, and see if there is enough water. Add a little more as necessary.  This dish should have a soft velvety texture.  If you need to hide the veg a bit further, I sometimes give it a rough mash. Add salt and pepper to taste. This will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. Enjoy!

1 comment:

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