This ratatouille and sausage potpie with cornmeal biscuits is a little heavy but perfect for a wet Summers evening or as an Autumnal dinner for the family. And yes, the biscuits make this recipe a little fiddly but their inclusion give the dish a real American twist. Think of it as a Franco – American celebration of local Cork artisanal sausages. In particular our O’Flynns sausages.
Now to the dish. In a typical ratatouille recipe you normally sauté all the vegetables separately, then combine them so as to keep their independent flavours. But we’re coking a potpie here so skip that and simply make the sauce with the peppers, tomatoes, roasted aubergine, courgettes and sausages before covering it in dough and baking it in the oven. Give it a go. It should take you no longer than an hour and a half.
Ingredients (serves 6)
For the cornmeal biscuits
125 g plain flour
75 g fine cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
85 g cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm cubes
185 ml sour cream or plain whole milk yoghurt
For the ratatouille
1 large aubergine or 700 g cut into 2 ½ cm chunks
3 small courgettes 340 g, cut into 2 ½ chunks
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
450 g O’Flynns sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1 large onion, cut into 2 ½ cm chunks
1 red pepper, cored and cut into 2 ½ cm chunks
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
680 g tinned plum tomatoes
4 sprigs fresh thyme
bunch chopped fresh parsley or basil
For the biscuits:
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Fold in the sour cream. Gently knead mixture until it comes together in a ball, adding a drop or two of milk if necessary. Cover with cling film and stick in the fridge until ready to use. Preheat oven to 450° F/230º C.
For the ratatouille:
In a bowl, toss aubergine and courgette with 70 ml oil; season with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper. Spread vegetables in a single layer on one or two large baking sheets (do not crowd vegetables). Transfer to oven and roast, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep, preferably oven-proof pan, heat a tablespoon oil. Crumble sausage into pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate.
Return pan to medium heat and add remaining oil. Stir in the onion, pepper, garlic and remaining salt. Cook until softened, 5 – 7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and thyme sprigs. Simmer gently until tomatoes are cooked and mixture is stew-like, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sausage, roasted vegetables and parsley. If you are not using an oven-safe pan, transfer mixture to a gratin dish.
Divide biscuit dough into six equal balls. Use your palm to flatten each ball into a centimetre thick disk. Arrange on top of ratatouille mixture. Brush biscuits lightly with milk. Remember these biscuits will not cover the entire dish so just dot the disks of dough around the surface and share them out when serving.
Transfer pan or dish to oven and cook until biscuits are golden, 25 – 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
Thanks to the New York Times for this recipe.