Ratatouille

Want to add a little cuisine francaise to your backpacking menu? Ratatouille is a traditional French dish of stewed summer vegetables featuring eggplant, onions, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes—perfectly seasoned with garlic and herbs. Enjoy as a main course or combine with rice. Bon appétit!

Serves 3 - 5

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Herbes de Provence or dried thyme
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes or 14.5 OZ can, diced

At Home:

Peel the eggplant. Before dicing, cut the eggplant diagonally into half inch slices. Squeeze or press eggplant slices gently between paper towels to remove excess liquid which can taste slightly bitter. Dice eggplant and other vegetables into small pieces. If you were not planning to dehydrate this meal you would cut the vegetables into larger pieces.

In a large, non-stick skillet, heat the oil and sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic, peppers, fennel, bay leaves, and thyme or Herbes de Provence*, and sauté until peppers are soft.

*Herbes de Provence can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores and typically contains rosemary, marjoram, basil, bay leaf, and thyme. If you can't find it, just use thyme.

Add eggplant and sauté until it turns golden.

Add zucchini and sauté for another five minutes.

Add diced tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes cook down.

I reward myself with a serving right out of the skillet and refrigerate the rest overnight to allow the flavors to fully absorb into the vegetables.


Dehydrate:

Spread vegetables out in a single layer on dehydrator trays covered with non-stick sheets. Midway through the drying process you can break-up any vegetables that are stuck together.

Dehydrate at 135 degrees for approximately 10 hours. You can speed up the drying process by starting out at 145 degrees for the first two hours. Drying times may be longer for some dehydrators. Vegetables will be leathery when done with no moisture appearing when you cut into a piece.

Store in an air-tight container for longest shelf life. Divide into individual servings and place in zip-lock bags for trail use.

On the Trail:

Combine one cup Ratatouille with one cup water in your pot and rehydrate for five to ten minutes. For larger servings, just add equal parts of Ratatouille and water.

Heat until nice and warm. It is not necessary to maintain a boil. I use less than ½ ounce of alcohol in my homemade backpacking stove to prepare this meal. Total cook time is six to eight minutes.

Transfer pot to an insulating cozy for another ten minutes where your meal will continue to rehydrate.

To enjoy this meal with rice or macaroni, combine ½ cup Ratatouille, ½ cup instant or dried rice or macaroni, and one cup water. If using macaroni, add a quarter cup more water. Bring to a boil for one minute. Turn off stove and wait ten minutes with lid on pot.


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This recipe is featured in Recipes for Adventure.


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