Serves 6 – it also freezes really well.
1 large onion – red or white (I prefer red) diced
Lots of garlic – I use 4-6 cloves, again diced
A good slosh of extra virgin olive oil (slosh is a technical term….)
1 red pepper, cut into 3-4cm dice
1 green or yellow pepper, cut into 3-4 cm dice
½ a red chilli, very finely diced. I used to exclude chilli from recipes as I thought my kids wouldn’t eat it. This was a mistake. Omitting it results in a major flavour compromise and so long as it is cut very small and I am very sensible about amounts (and leaving out most of the seeds), I get it past their radar and it adds its own particular range of phytochemicals whilst broadening our taste palate at the same time.
½ a butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3-4cm dice (I use the other half to make soup the next day or roast it and eat it with a little butter and black pepper)
1 aubergine, cut into 3-4cm dice
1 medium courgette, cut into 3-4cm dice
200g French beans, ends trimmed.
1 small potato or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3-4cm dice
3 large tomatoes, peeled (drop them into boiling water to split the skins for easy peeling) and diced
2tbsp tomato puree
A slosh of red wine
200ml of water
Salt and pepper to taste
A sprinkle of caraway seeds or any other seed or spice of your choice
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade (160 degrees fan)
Slosh the extra virgin olive oil into a large oven-proof casserole dish (that has a lid you can use later) and put on the hob. Gently sweat the onions for 5 minutes or so. Be careful not to brown, they need to stay soft and translucent.
Add the garlic, both peppers and the chilli and gently fry for another 5 minutes or so until these soften.
Add the butternut squash and fry for another 5 minutes.
Hoik this lot out onto a plate with a slotted spoon.
Then use the hot oil in the casserole (add another good slosh if it has all been absorbed) and fry the aubergine for 5 minutes or so.
Next add the French beans and courgette for another 5 minutes.
Add the squash, peppers and onions e.t.c. back into the casserole.
Then throw in the potato, tomatoes, tomato puree, wine and season with salt, pepper and any other seeds you are using – for us, this is caraway.
Stir it all together and add enough of the water to half cover the vegetables.
Cover with a lid and put in the oven for half an hour or so. Until it is all starting to look soft.
After the half an hour or so is up, turn the oven up to 200 degrees C or 180 for a fan oven.
Spread the Rat out in a large roasting tin so that it is 2-3cm deep – too shallow and it will burn. Which would be disappointing at this stage!
Pour over any remaining liquid from the casserole dish.
Put the Rat in the oven to cook for another 30 minutes or so.
By now your Rat should be very soft and squidgy. Eat immediately or leave to cool and refrigerate or freeze. It seems to taste even better after 24hrs in the fridge.
We either have it with brown rice or on lightly buttered toast. We love it on Rye or on Life Changing Loaf – I am currently making a lot of Life Changing Loaf at the moment – if you haven’t come across this before – check it out. It literally takes between 5 and 10 minutes to make and also freezes really well.
Garnish with a dollop of Labneh, any fresh herb you fancy (we have a dill thing going on at present) and maybe a light grating of unpasteurised cheese on the top?