So I turned to my trusty cookbooks and found ratatouille from the Moosewood cookbook. My mother-in-law gave it to us (it's her old copy) and it's an awesome reference for vegetarian recipes. (www.moosewoodrestaurant.com.) What can I say? Those crazy hippies can cook!
What I thought was so cool is that ratatouille was basically made up by French women (and men?) that had all kinds of garden veggies in the summer, and needed a new way to use them. Anyone that grows zucchini knows that pain! It's a rustic stew that needs no real recipe, just an understanding of flavors. I totally pictured myself making this in the French countryside, possibly on a vineyard, with lots of baguettes and curing meat in the kitchen. (What? I have an active imagination!)
Anyway, so I had all these fresh veggies, and I basically chopped them all up, and threw them in the trust slow cooker with 2 bay leaves, some water, and salt & pepper. After an hour I added some garlic & cumin.
I tasted it, and while it did taste fresh, it really didn't have a "bite" to it. We like to have lots of spice in our food. So I looked around the kitchen & found a package of Gaspar's chourizo. (I feel like being married to a Portuguese-American guy, I could add chourizo or linguica to anything. Example: Eggs, ratatouille, sandwiches, brownies...ok not really brownies.) I decide to take a risk and add it in.
This is what it looked like:
The chourizo added in texture & created a spicy broth that was absolutely delicious. We had it for dinner a few nights & froze the rest for lunches.
This was my first time taking a recipe & modifying it so significantly. I'm so happy it paid off!! Now to figure out how to grow chourizo in the garden...
So here's the recipe:
1 large eggplant (I didn't peel mine but I would next time)
Frozen diced peppers
2 c corn
2 small summer squash
2 small zucchini
1 package (1 lb) of chourzio
Chop all into 1 inch-ish cubes/slives (I didn't do this & the eggplant never seemed to catch up with the other veggies)
Slow cooker on high for 4 hours did the trick.
Serve w/ bread to sop up the remaining broth, and a good glass of wine.
I recommend imagining yourself in the set of Beauty and the Beast while you make this, but that's up to you. :)