Ratatouille, a classic French dish originating from the rustic region of Provence, is a flavourful and hearty vegetable stew. Traditionally made with seasonal produce, although originally from further south, this dish captures the essence of rural Central France.
Ratatouille has evolved over the years to become a beloved dish, known for its simplicity and robust flavours and here’s how to cook this iconic dish on a campfire. If you haven’t already discovered the joy of outdoor cooking, this is a good place to start!
The Origins Of This Classic French Dish
Ratatouille origins can be traced back to the region of Provence in Southern France. It was first mentioned in the 18th-century cookbook and gained popularity due to its simple preparation and the abundant availability of seasonal vegetables in the region.
Over time, ratatouille made its way to rural Central France, where it became a staple in many households. The region’s fertile lands offered an abundance of fresh produce, making it an ideal place for the dish to flourish. Its rustic appeal and heartiness makes this a favourite with this rural community.
What Ingredients Do You Need To Cook Classic Ratatouille On The Campfire?
For the full French culinary experience, where possible, buy these ingredients when you visit a traditional French market. You will find a market most days of the week in the nearby towns and these ingredients will be brightening up the stalls in abundance. Otherwise, all of these ingredients will be readily available at the local supermarché.
To cook the classic ratatouille on the campfire you need the following ingredients for two people – double up if you want to cook enough for a couple of days (but for tomatoes go 6 fresh & 1 tin!) :-
1 medium Aubergine
1 large courgette or 2 small,
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves grated small (or 2 teaspoons of garlic powder*)
2 ripe tomatoes,
1 tin tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil*
2 sprigs of Fresh Thyme*
1 teaspoon dried herbs de Provence*
2 dessert spoons of balsamic vinegar*
Salt and pepper to taste*
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish*
*From your La Prairie Étoilée larder!
How To Cook Your Classic Ratatouille On The Campfire
Prepare your campfire by laying kindling and logs to get the fire started.
Before your campfire is ready to cook on, roughly chop all your vegetables – chunky is good, this is a rustic dish after all!
Once the flames have subsided on your campfire and you have hot embers, hang the Dutch oven over them. Adjust the temperature of your pot by raising or lowering the Dutch oven over the embers.
Add some olive oil to the Dutch oven and let it heat up.
Sauté the chopped onion and grated garlic until they turn translucent and fragrant.
Add the chopped aubergine, courgette and peppers to the Dutch oven. Stir and let them cook for about 5-7 minutes until they begin to soften.
Mix in the chopped tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, thyme sprigs and dried herbs de Provence and season well with salt and pepper according to your taste.
Cover the Dutch oven with its lid and let the ratatouille simmer for 20-25 minutes. With your hot glove, lift the lid to stir occasionally to avoid sticking and ensure even cooking. The vegetables should be tender but not overly mushy.
Once the ratatouille is ready, again with your hot glove, remove the Dutch oven from the campfire.
To Serve Your Classic Ratatouille
So now you have cooked the classic ratatouille on the campfire! Serve it straight from the Dutch oven and into your enamel bowls, with slices of fresh baguette and local goat’s cheese from the Indre region. The crusty baguette will give you that bite and the creamy goat’s cheese will add a delightful tangy contrast. A large green salad is also a great accompaniment to this dish!
Campfire Cooking – A Gastronomic Adventure!
Ratatouille is an absolute French classic and perfectly embodies the essence of rural Central France with its rustic charm and flavours. Cooking ratatouille over a campfire using a Dutch oven not only connects us with nature but also allows us to savour the rich history of this beloved culinary gem. So, gather your ingredients, light up that campfire, and embark on a simple one pot gastronomic adventure with this campfire ratatouille recipe. Bon appétit!