RATATOUILLE WITH BACON
100 g thin strips of smoked bacon
1 large onion
4 garlic cloves
2 red bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
2 cans (à 400 g/240 g) whole tomatoes
1 small bunch of parsley
1 - 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Drain the canned tomatoes and roughly chop them, removing the cores. Halve the onion crosswise, then thinly slice the halves lengthwise. Chop the bacon and slice the bell peppers into strips lengthwise. You may first thinly peel the peppers, if you prefer, by using a vegetable peeler.
Heat the bacon in a saucepan, add the onion and the chopped garlic and sauté
in the bacon fat. Add the peppers, the tomatoes, the thyme sprigs and the chopped parsley. Cover the pan and simmer, stirring every now and then, until the vegetables are soft.
This ratatouille is good served with broiled lamb chops or other meats, or eaten plain with some good bread and butter.
For a vegetarian version (pictured on right), replace the bacon with one large or two small eggplants. Instead of bacon fat, use olive oil.
Cut the eggplants into cubes and sauté in oil separately, before adding to the other ingredients and simmering as described above.