Over the past few weeks I've been collecting a beautiful bounty of fresh harvest vegetables. Today I noticed a few varieties were looking a little peaked, so I decided I'd better put them to use before they were past their prime. While foraging through my fridge for leftover veggies I noticed a poor lump of grey ground beef hiding behind the creamer. After close examination, I decided the meat was well within the safety limits for consumption.
My original plan was to make Ratatouille but with the addition of meat the recipe morphed into a thick rich sauce.
I served the sauce over spaghetti in hopes of throwing the family off the "vegetable scent". I would have never guessed that my son would say, "Mom, I hope you wrote down this recipe because it's now in the top 10 of my new favorite meals!"
My thirteen year old son doesn't eat many vegetables (he's a lot like his daddy) but he ate this like it was candy! After hearing his praise I wasn't about to confess to him that he had just eaten three of his least favorite vegetables...squash, zucchini and eggplant!
1 pound ground beef
1-½ cups porcini mushrooms
1 large eggplant
2 yellow squash
1 red onion
1 large green bell pepper
3 small purple bell pepper
2 small yellow bell pepper
1 cup yellow tomatoes
3 small ripe tomatoes
3 green tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch chives
3 tablespoons fresh basil
1 cup water
1 cup tomato sauce
¼ cups olive oil for saute
½ teaspoon Lawry's garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
Wash and rough dice the vegetables, in a large stock pot heat 1 teaspoon olive oil, in separate batches saute the vegetables starting with the mushrooms. Do not season the mushrooms with salt to keep juices from running, cook for 3-5 minutes until browned, Add another teaspoon olive oil to mushrooms if the pan becomes to dry. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside until ready to use.
Add 1 teaspoon olive oil for each additional batch of vegetables and season with salt and pepper while you continue sauteing them separately in this order, eggplant, squash, onions, peppers.
Saute tomatoes with garlic and add chives. Leave tomato mixture in stock pot and de-glaze pan with water, return cooked vegetables to stock pot, add tomato sauce and cook on low stirring occasionally.
In a medium skillet cook ground beef until browned, season with salt and pepper, remove any grease from meat the add meat to stock pot
stir in garlic salt, basil and pepper to taste
Cook sauce covered for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve over noodles or with mashed potatoes.
I made such a big batch that we ended up with a large container of leftover sauce. I rarely eat leftovers, so I surprised myself when I ate some of the sauce for breakfast the next day. A few hours later I spread some between two slices of buttered toast, making a sandwich reminiscent of the Sloppy Joe. However, this sandwich was so much more delicious. Later in the afternoon, my son finished what was left of the sauce as his after school snack.