There is a similar dish in a French, Italian, Georgian and, probably, come other cuisines which consists of stewed tomatoes, aubergines and, sometimes, courgettes. It is called ratatouille in
France, caponata in Italy and adjapsandal in . Georgia
My mum cooks this ragout quite often, especially in summer when one tends to opt for lighter vegetable meals. This dish, however, has a non-vegetarian version (at least in
where both versions have the same name). My mum used to cook something very similar to it as well but she used beef (a more likely choice for a Russian) instead of mutton (which would be more traditionally Georgian) and she called the dish “Meat à l’arabe” (yes, I know, lamb is more typical for Middle Eastern cuisine as well!). Anyway, I really loved the combination of flavours and since whenever we have ratatouille at home, my husband feels disappointed by the fact that there’s no meat in it, I started to cook non-vegetarian version of it for him – with lamb. Of course, it is far from what my mum used to cook and more similar to a Georgian adjapsandal or French ratatouille with meat, but I’m really grateful to her for having me inspired to make a dish that always makes my carnivorous husband happy! Georgia
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stick, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 aubergine, cut into cubes
1 zucchini, cut into cubes
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp mixed herbs
a few coriander springs
salt and black pepper to taste
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a big pan and sauté onion till translucent. Add lamb cubes and brown them on all sides. Add some hot water, cover the pan and cook over low heat till the lamb is almost done (adding more water during the cooking time if necessary).
- Heat the remaining oil in another pan and sauté carrot, celery, zucchini and aubergine. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the vegetables and mushrooms to the lamb, together with tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs. Season to taste and, if the mixture looks a bit dry, add some water. Allow to simmer on low for ten minutes or till done. Just before serving, sprinkle with coriander leaves.