Ratatouille in a Potjie

Potjie No: 1 and 3
Serves: 6
Cooking Time: 1.5 hours
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4 medium brinjals, sliced
1 green pepper
1 red Spanish sweet pepper
250 g baby marrows
350 g brown mushrooms
2 stalks leafy celery, cut into pieces

30 ml olive or cooking oil 1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 x 410 g can whole peeled tomatoes or 8 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
50 ml chopped fresh parsley
15 ml chopped fresh basil or 5 ml dried
1 sprig fresh rosemary or 5 ml dried
1 sprig fresh thyme or 5 ml dried
1 bay leaf

First prepare tomato sauce:
Heat oil in small potjie, add onion and garlic and sauté until transparent.
Add tomatoes and herbs and simmer gently until sauce is thick.
Stir sauce occasionally to avoid burning.
If you like, a knob of butter may be stirred in when sauce is cooked.

To prepare vegetables:
Place brinjal on a large board or into a large sieve.
Sprinkle with salt and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
Rinse off excess salt under cold water and dry brinjal thoroughly on paper towelling. Place brinjal on grid over glowing coals. Brush slices with a little extra cooking oil. Braai until lightly browned.
Turn, brush with oil and braai underside.
Remove from coals and set aside.
Meanwhile, place whole peppers, without brushing with oil, onto grid or place onto a braai fork and hold in the flames.
Do not worry if the peppers become black.
Remove from fire and rub skins off with a rough towel, or pull skins off with fingers. This is a time-consuming process, but the delicious braai flavour that results is well worth the effort.
Cut peppers in half, remove the seeds and cut into strips.
Arrange half the brinjal slices in the larger potjie, followed by a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce.
Now place half the peppers and baby marrows on top of the brinjal.
Spoon some more tomato sauce on top, then place half the mushrooms and celery on top followed by more tomato sauce.
Continue in this way with the remaining vegetables, making sure that each layer is well covered with tomato sauce.
Bring slowly to the boil, then simmer over low coals for 45-60 minutes.

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