I made this in the summer, when the ingredients of ratatouille are actually in season. It checked off three goals for cooking that week: finally make something from my new-edition Moosewood Cookbook, try out my house’s brand-new Instant Pot, and take advantage of seasonal produce.
I cheated a little by saving the liquid that cooked off a couple of chicken breasts and adding it with the tomatoes. A bit of meat flavor helps quite a lot. The stew turned out well (very tasty, very easy!), but next time I think I’ll try adding a cup or two of stock or other liquid, just to make sure the vegetables are all submerged while they’re cooking. This probably isn’t necessary if you just open your slow cooker and give it a stir every once in a while, but that kind of defeats the purpose of hands-off cooking…
Yield: 4 large servings to 8 side-dish servings.
2 T olive oil
2 c chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium bell peppers, cut into strips
1 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1.5 t basil
1 t oregano
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
1 t salt (or 1/2 c chicken cooking liquid)
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, or ~2 c chopped fresh tomatoes
1-2 c chicken or vegetable stock (optional)
Saute onions in olive oil until browned while you prep the rest of the vegetables.
Add everything to slow cooker and stir to combine (I like to add the liquid-y things, like tomatoes, last. That way the juices run down through the rest of the ingredients). Optionally, if the vegetables on top are not submerged, add some additional liquid (stock or water). Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.