Winter Vegetable Ratatouille with a Wild Mushroom Gravy

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This time of year my body craves one thing in particular...roasted vegetables! Nearly everyday I am roasting up all sorts of seasonal squash, root veggies, wild mushrooms and well-seasoned in local herbs. These foods are grounding and warming; traditional Chinese Medicine would say they build the blood. These foods are in-season this time of year for good reason; they offer immense nutrition that helps to support our immune system and prepare our bodies for the long cold winter months. 

Fall through to late winter has always been a time for me to look inward, reflect on the months past and set intentions for the coming new year. I am my best at self-care during these seasons - cooking is the most effective form of self-care I know. Giving my body was it needs and craves is a pinnacle aspect to my self-care routine. So while being mindful to not over-eat starchy foods throughout the fall-winter seasons, when something is telling me that's what I need - I listen!

We didn't evolve to have the same diet for all twelve months of the year. My ancestors for sure weren't eating many fruits, tomatoes or leafy greens in the fall and winter - unless they managed to preserve them somehow. They truly ate with the seasons; their diets were in-sync with Mother Nature's rhythm.

I always try to eat as sustainably as possible and synchronize my diet to the seasonality of foods. So for me the goal is to find balance in my diet between the right amount of nourishment from these hearty vegetables, healthy fats and clean sustainable proteins. Dishes like this align with this goal - the perfect combination of satisfying flavours and the best of what's in season.

Enjoy this recipe and please share if you make it yourself. Feel free to modify the vegetables you use in this dish, it should be made with whatever you have available. I promise you'll love the outcome anyway!

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Recipe

You’ll Need:

- Knife or mandolin to thinly slice
- 10.5-12’’ deep cast iron skillet
- Small sauce pan
- Whisk

 

Ingredients:

- 2 cups bone or vegetable broth (I used bone broth from Georels - a Vancouver based bone broth company)
- 1 large yam or potato sliced
- 2 large rutabaga sliced
- 2 large turnips sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion sliced
- 1 small delicata squash sliced
- 1 leek diced
- 1 teaspoon or 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon rosemary or 3 fresh sprigs
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt


For Sauce:

- 1 cup bone or vegetable broth
- 8 oz or 1 cup mushrooms sliced, any small variety
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease cast iron skillet.
  2. Using mandolin or sharp knife, cut thin slices of all of the vegetables.
  3. Repeating the same order, line up the vegetables in your cast iron dish in a circular pattern - pack them in snug.
  4. Once the outside ring is filled, repeat making a smaller inner ring.
  5. Use any left over vegetables to fill in open gaps or spaces.
  6. Top vegetables with fresh or dried herbs.
  7. Pour 2 cups of broth evenly over all of the vegetables.
  8. Set in heated oven for 40 minutes at 350, or until vegetables are thoroughly cooked.
  9. At the 20 minute mark, combine 1 cup broth with mushrooms in sauce pan and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
  10. In a small glass dish or cup combine arrowroot starch with just enough water to dissolve.
  11. Slowly whisk in the arrowroot, stirring constantly until the liquid is thickened.
  12. Remove from the heat and whisk in nutritionist yeast and any other herbs for flavouring.
  13. Remove ratatouille from oven and let it cool briefly.
  14. Serve mushroom sauce over cooked vegetables and enjoy!
 

Last winter I made this dish using only ingredients from the local Nat Bailey Farmers Market with the fine folks over at Fuud! Watch the video here.