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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Caribbean Ratatouille

The South Beach cookbooks (whence the original recipe here comes) just say summer...lots of veggies, in all flavors and colors.  The OR for this dish calls for a variety of veggies that were pretty easy to locate in my grocery stores when I lived an hour away from South Beach...calabaza squash, chayote, green plantains...but which are hit-or-miss finds now that I live in the Corn Belt.  What follows is my Midwestern Caribbean Ratatouille which takes advantage of the current agricultural overlap in late summer and early fall produce.  It's full of color which means it's full of nutrients and vitamins...talk about cooking the rainbow!

This is a fast and light stew...goes together in less than 20 minutes once all the veg is chopped and the seasonings measured and sorted.  It *can* be frozen once it's cooked, but I think it loses a bit of its bright, fresh flavor.  It is perfect though for prepping ahead for same day or next day cooking.  Just chop all the veg, sort into containers, and combine the cooking liquid and seasonings for fast-fast dinner execution.

When you "peel" an acorn squash, don't sweat getting every last bit of peel off.  Once the squash is cooked, the peel will come away very easily from the squash meat.  Note: If you do use a green plantain instead of a green banana, start it with the squash and onion...they're more like potatoes than bananas when they're green and unripe.

Caribbean Ratatouille
Makes 6 servings

2 tbsp olive oil
1 acorn squash, peeled, halved, seeded and chopped into 1" chunks
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper
2 cubanelle or poblano peppers
2-3 green tomatoes, chopped
1 green banana, peeled and sliced
1 cup orange juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Cook squash and onion 5 minutes.  Add peppers and cook for 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.  Add banana and cook for 1 minute.  Add orange juice and all remaining ingredients.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes.  Pin It

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