Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mark Bittman's Chickpea & Fennel Ratatouille

 Mark Bittman's Chickpea and Fennell Ratatouille
The mark of a good dish can be many things.  The creativity, the flavor, or just the simplicity.  As the holidays approach and I start to plan a number of larger family meals, the main mark for me becomes making it onto my extended holiday menu. That list of 2-3 meals, outside of the traditional big holiday events, that I will cook for a crowd.  After just a few bites, this list was all I could think of when devouring this ratatouille. 

Sure, it came from the Vegan Before Six marketing bonanza series. Yes, it happens to be gluten free.  But I promise you none of that matters.  This dish is just so so so right.  When Mr. Bittman calls it one of his best, he really isn't exaggerating.  It is deliriously aromatic and so rich in flavor I challenge any meat lover to not enjoy it.  It will grandily and happily grace our table this December 26th as a delicious, healthy second act to Christmas eating.

Chickpea & Fennel Ratatouille
  • Optional: 1 pound eggplant cut into large chunks
  • 3/4 pound zucchini, cut into large chunks
  • 1 pound Roma (plum) tomatoes, cored and chopped, or 1 28-ounce can, drained
  • 1 onion, finely sliced 
  • 2 bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, rimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
  • Salt & Peppers to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Combine all ingrediants except the oil, chickpeas and thyme in a roasting pan.  Drizzle the oil over, toss to combine
  • Roast in the oven, stirring twice, for about 30 minutes
  • Add the chickpeas, stir to combine, cook for another 10 minutes.  Add the herbs, season to taste and enjoy over rice or alone.

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