Whole 30 Day 24: Winter Ratatouille, InstantPot Roast Chicken 2.0

Tonight I took a second shot at cooking a whole chicken in the IntantPot and once again I overcooked it. I had a bigger chicken and I cooked it for less time, but when I opened the lid it was clear it had been in there too long. It reminded me of that seen in Christmas Vacation where Clark puts the fork in the turkey to carve it and the whole thing sort of explodes. I really thought I had figured out how long to cook it this time, but I guess you can’t win them all.

Instant pot roast chicken, baked ratatouille, and mixed green salad

I can tell it’s going to take me a while to get this one right, but I will keep trying until I figure it out. When Ford was little he used to take karate lessons and they had a lot of motivational posters in the studio. One that has stuck with me to this day is “Victory belongs to the person with the most perseverance”. I’m not giving up until I learn how to make a perfect InstantPot chicken.

You may be asking yourself why, I mean I do know how to roast chicken in the oven so why bother with the InstantPot? The answer is both a mix of my stubborn nature and the fact that I know this will be one of those things I make all the time once I get it right. Even overcooked the chicken was pretty good and we have lots left over for salads this coming week.

Fortunately I had a little more success with my Winter Ratatouille! I love ratatouille, and in the summer months it is an excellent way to make use of a lot of ripe tomatoes. I guess somewhere between the grilled eggplant and the marinated tomatoes I’ve made recently I got to thinking about ratatouille and a version that could be made in the colder months. It turned out yummy and made a huge batch so we will be reheating those leftovers to go alongside tomorrow’s dinner. Next time I make it I’m going to cut back slightly on the zucchini because we don’t generally need a veggie side dish that big and I’d like to increase the ratio of tomatoes to the other vegetables, but other than that it was great. I wrote the recipe below to include the portions I’ll use going forward.

Whenever I make eggplant I like to use a little kosher salt to draw out some of the water before cooking. I put the diced eggplant in a colander and tossed with one teaspoon of salt and let it sit while cutting the other vegetables and prepping the garlic and tomatoes. You should see water beading on the surface of the eggplant after about 10 minutes. Use a few paper towels to pat the eggplant dry and then add to the rest of the ingredients.

Baked Winter Ratatouille

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes drained, juice reserved
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Cut eggplant into 1" cubes and toss with kosher salt, let sit 10-15 minutes. Cut zucchini and yellow squash into 1" thick rounds or half moons and put into large mixing bowl. Cut onion into large dice and add to mixing bowl.
  • Heat skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Saute garlic and Italian seasoning stirring frequently for 1 minute to brown garlic. Add tomatoes and pepper, stir well.
  • Pat eggplant dry with paper towels and add to mixing bowl along with tomato mixture, stir to combine. If vegetable mixture seems too dry add a little of the reserved juice from the canned tomatoes.
  • Pour vegetable mixture into oiled 9×13 glass baking dish and bake for 45-50 minutes stirring once halfway through baking time. Vegetables should be tender and browning on top. Top with fresh basil and serve.

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