Friday, April 11, 2014

Slow Cooker Ratatouille with Goat Cheese Polenta

For Thatboy, Easter means ratatouille.  It's a very weird connection.  Ratatouille is hardly a spring food.  Taking advantage of vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant it really is a summer dish.  At the same time, since it's so thick and stew-ey, I could certainly make an argument that it's a great fall dish.  But TMIL makes it every Easter.  Served alongside lamb, it's a rather heavy meal.

This winter Joanne posted a great, wintery ratatouille.  Sure it had tomatoes, but it also has kale, squash, and potatoes.  TMIL serves her ratatouille as a side on its own, but I always like it with polenta.  Joanne must agree with me because she serves hers over polenta too - creamy, cheesy, polenta!  Just in case you also think ratatouille is an Easter dish, here's the scoop:

Source: Eats Well With Others

2 large eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tbsp coarse salt, plus more to taste
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 lb fingerling potatoes, quartered
1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp butter, divided
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup tomato paste
28 oz whole peeled tomatoes
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 cup vegetable broth
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups polenta
4 oz goat cheese
freshly ground black pepper

  1. Put the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with the salt, tossing to combine. Drain for 45 minutes.  Rinse and dry with paper towels.
  2. Spray the slow cooker with olive oil. Add the butternut squash, fingerling potatoes, and kale to to the slow cooker, tossing to combine.
  3. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add in the onions and garlic, along with a pinch of salt. Saute for 5-8 minutes, or until onions are tender. Add to the slow cooker.
  4. In that same pot, melt 1 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil. Whisk in the flour and tomato paste. Stir constantly until flour combines with the paste. 
  5. Slowly stir in the whole peeled tomatoes. Simmer, mashing the potatoes against the side of the pot, until mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. 
  6. Stir in the Italian seasoning and vegetable broth. Add to the pot.
  7. Add the eggplant to the slow cooker. 
  8. Add in freshly ground black pepper and stir to combine. Cook on low for 8 hours, stirring halfway through.
  9. Before serving, stir in the basil and remove from heat.
  10. For the polenta, bring the vegetable broth and water to a boil. Stir in the salt. 
  11. Slowly whisk the polenta into the boiling water and lower to a simmer. Simmer until polenta reaches desired consistency, stirring frequently, anywhere from 15-30 minutes. 
  12. When polenta is done, stir in the goat cheese and black pepper.
  13. Serve ratatouille atop a big scoop of polenta.

Verdict: Keeper!!

Thatboy loved this.  Which is good, because the recipe made a lot.  So he had it for lunch leftovers too.  Thatbaby liked it more than he thought he would, although he did mostly just eat the potatoes and squash.  And polenta.  Kid likes polenta.


  1. Yay! I'm so glad you guys liked this!! And yes, it does make enough to feed a small army.

  2. Oh, I love ratatouille AND polenta (and with goat cheese?? Yes, please). The husband doesn't really do polenta/grits, but I'm working on wearing him down so I can make it for dinner more often. :)