This Summer Bean Ratatouille is from one of my favorite chefs Peter Berley's Flextiarian Table. I love this book not only because the recipes are imaginative, easy and delicious but they are geared towards both "flexible" eaters as well as vegetarians. The recipes are divided into seasons highlighting what is freshest.
This Ratatouille combines the traditional eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini with cranberry beans and red wine for an unexpected twist on a classic. The nutty cranberry beans transform a vegetable side dish into a hearty entree. The addition of wine makes it a bit murkey looking but it adds a rich fruity intensity. Serve with grilled steak, salmon or on its own over rice.
Summer Bean Ratatouille
adapted from The Flexitarian Table, Peter Berley
1 pound fresh shell beans, such as cranberry beans, black-eyed peas, or chickpeas shelled (about 1 1/2 cups), or one 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf if using fresh beans
sea salt or kosher salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin oilive oil
2 medium red onions, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pound plum tomatoes (5-6), cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 1-lb eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large sprig fresh flat leaf parsley
1 pound small zucchini, diced
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup dry red wine, such as Cotes du Rhone or Shiraz
If using fresh beans, place them in a pot with 1 thyme sprig, the bay leaf, and cold water to cover by 1/2 inch. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until just tender, about 15 minutes, adding a little more water if needed to keep the beans covered. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered, for 5 ore minutes. Drain the beans and discared the thyme and bay leaf.
In a large heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, cumin, and 2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft but not browned, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, parsley sprig, and the remaining 1 or 2 thyme sprigs. Stir to combine, cover, and simmer, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the zucchini, garlic, red pepper flakes, wine and drained or canned beans. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the ratatouille to a large bow, then set a large strainer over the pot and pour the ratatouille into the strainer (set the bowl aside). Discard the herb sprigs. Let drain for 10 minutes, then shake the strainer to release as much liquid as possible into the pot. Return the ratatouille to the bowl.
Bring the strained liquid to a simmer over high heat and simmer until it reduces to a glaze, about 5 minutes (you will have about 1/3 cup liquid). Use a rubber spatula to scrape the liquid into the ratatouille and stir to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.