RECIPES - winter ratatouille with couscous

La Ratatouille is as typical Provencal as lavender and the blue sky. It is the quintessential summer dish, of using what's in season, in the garden, at the farmers' market, and creating a delicious slow-cooked blend of flavors. And naturally vegan!
The same principle can be used to make a winter ratatouille: using vegetables which are in season now, and making a delightful and colorful stew, warming and nourishing. Taking in what nature offers us and loading up on vitamins A & C and essential fatty acids before the difficult time of year begins, March and April, where nature has shut down for the winter and spring has not really arrived with the new year's crop.

Peel the butternut squash and keep the seeds for planting in late spring in your vegetable garden! Peel onions and garlic but keep the peel with all its fantastic nutrients on all other vegetables.

This year's olive harvest was non-existent for us but we still have a secret stash of last season's oil which gives this dish the extra flavor...
1 swede/rutabaga
1 butternut squash
2 parsnips
1 turnip
2 carrots
1 sweet potato
2 large onions
4 garlic cloves
3 to 4 sprigs of sage, chopped
2 tablespoons of dried rosemary
a dash of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh olive oil
some water or tomato sauce, preserved from the summer

1 small water glass of couscous
1 small water glass full of water
a dash of salt

Fry onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil.
From hardest to softest vegetable add carrots, rutabaga, parsnips and turnip, and a bit of water. Put the lid on for about 10 minutes, then add butternut squash and sweet potatoes plus sage, rosemary, salt and pepper. Let simmer, adding a bit of water at a time, for another 20 minutes. If you have canned tomato sauce from last summer add it to this dish!
When your winter ratatouille is almost finished make the couscous by bringing the water to a boil plus salt, then adding the couscous and turning off the heat; it takes no more than 1 minute for the couscous to be ready.

Serve ratatouille and couscous on warm plates, and sprinkle some freshly squeezed lemon juice over your meal for added zing.

Bon appétit
and to a lovely winter!

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