Saturday, May 7, 2011

Zucchini Tomato Bake

      I love how vegetables taste when they are cooked in a dutch oven.  They retain their color and usually have an intense almost smokey flavor.  I like to blast them with high heat, similar to roasting in your conventional oven.  It is also a healthier way to prepare them, the dutch oven acts like a pressure cooker, preserving their vitamins and natural goodness.  This recipe is similar to a ratatouille or caponata, the zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms are simmered in a sweet tomato sauce.  I did not add the fennel but would definitely give it a try.  Saute the onion and garlic over 12 coals, add the vegetables then cover with 22-24 coals on the lid to bring it right up to 400 degrees.  It was done to perfection in 30 minutes.  I did not even lift the lid to check on how they were cooking, once the steam was pouring out from around the sides and I could smell the garlic and basil I knew they were done.  You could also add some sliced potatoes and easily make a meal out of this dish.  It would even be delicious served cold the next day.  Just a quick tip, be sure to oil or spray your dutch oven well before cooking with tomatoes, it will help prevent their acidity from eroding the seasoning on your oven.  From Oster Creative Countertop Oven Cooking.

Zucchini Tomato Bake
1 pound eggplant, coarsely chopped (4 cups total)
2 cups sliced zucchini
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped fennel bulb (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can whole tomatoes, undrained
2 Tblsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. sugar

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.  Place oven over 10-12 coals; add olive oil, onion, garlic, and fennel if desired.  Cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add tomatoes with liquid, tomato paste, basil and sugar.  Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens.
     Stir in vegetables until well mixed and coated with tomato sauce.  Cover; cook for 30-40 minutes with 20-22 coals on lid or until vegetables are soft and cooked to your liking.

Saute onions, garlic then thicken tomato sauce

Coat vegetables well with sauce

After 30 minutes in a hot oven

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