In late summer the overflowing bins of vegetables in markets and supermarkets look almost too good to be real. At this time of year I make this vegetable stew.
(4 main servings or 6 side servings)
- 1 small aubergine, 200-300 g (7-10 1/2 oz )
- 1 large onion
- 1 tbsp butter or oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 red pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 2 zucchini
- 6 ripe red tomatoes or : 1 (425 g/15 oz) can diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 (400 g/ 14 oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
- 1 (425 g/15 oz) can savory tomatoes
- fresh or dried basil and oregano
- salt, sugar and pepper
- cornflour (optional)
- chopped parsley
- Pierce the skin of the small aubergine in several places and microwave at full power in a shallow uncovered dish for 3-4 minutes or until it loses its uncooked, slightly spongy feel, turning once or twice. The skin may brown during this cooking.
- Cut the onion into 1 cm (1/2 inch) chunks and brown lightly but evenly in a small amount of butter or oil in a large frypan.
- Add the chopped garlic.
- Cut the aubergine into1cm (1/2 inch) thick slices, using a serrated knife, then cut these into cubes and add to the onion in the pan.
- Raise the heat and add a little more butter or oil if necessary, and stir regularly for a few minutes, then add the cubed peppers, sliced zucchini, and cook a little longer until the peppers have lost their raw look and texture.
- Cube and cut the tomatoes, or add one of the canned tomato products if it suits you better.
- Adjust the heat so that the whole mixture simmers in the tomato juice for 5-10 minutes. During this time add the herbs and seasoning in quantities to suit your taste. Keep tasting, since the flavorings added at this stage are very important to the final flavor.
- Add extra water or tomato if it seems too dry.
- If it is to be served hot, the mixture may be thickened slightly with cornflour of you like.
- If it is served at room temperature, you should use oil not butter for the cooking, and you may like to add a little more oil and some lemon juice.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.