This is my ratatouille with pork, packed with lots of mediterranean vegetables and cooked in one pot. It’s easy to prepare and has lots of flavor. My version has cubed pork because I love pork and eggplant dishes! I also snuck in some anchovies for umami. They melt away completely, leaving behind their salty goodness. I finished my bowl with a grating of asiago cheese over top. This is a really great, healthy dish.
Add Texture And Shape
When I make a stew, I like to give it some visual appeal by varying the size and cut on the veggies. I went with large rounds, about 1/4″ thick for the eggplant, thin slices of yellow squash, and smaller cubes for the zucchini. For the onion, I used thin slices. And the pork I cut into bite-sized cubed before searing it in the Instant Pot.
I tend to stock my pantry with lots of cans of goodies that play well together, so I pulled a few items to add in along with the fresh eggplant and squash. Artichokes are a great addition. They add some sweetness, and are great in tomato-based dishes. I also added anchovies. They are a secret ingredient that adds to the dish, but no one knows it’s there since they just melt away completely. They add a great complexity to the flavor.
I decided to also try adding garbanzo beans to this stew. Not something I usually add (but use all the time in salads). Since all of the other ingredients were going to get soft, I had a feeling that they would be great for added texture. I was right! I also used a small can of tomato paste, and diced tomatoes to round out the flavor.
Liquids Make Steam Pressure
To make sure I had enough liquid to get up the steam for pressure cooking, I used all of the liquids from the diced tomatoes, and garbanzo beans. I had the artichoke liquid on reserve in case I got a burn warning, but I didn’t need it. As the veggies cook down they tend to release liquid, and I didn’t want my ratatouille to end up too soupy. This about of liquid worked perfectly.
A Bit About Eggplant
Like I said earlier, I love eggplant dishes (try my tasty eggplant stacks dish sometime). I have learned a few tricks for preparing them. It’s very important to prepare the eggplant. Do not skip this step! You want to begin any recipe that uses eggplant by squeezing out the bitterness. You can do this with lemon juice or salt. I have used lemon juice for years, but have just started switching to using salt all the time. The end result is good either way, so if you are worried about the added salt, try lemon juice.
I prefer to peel globe eggplants, since their skin tends to be fairly tough. Asian eggplants don’t really have that problem, so you can cook them with the skin on if you like. Cut the eggplant into whatever shape your recipe calls for (in this case, I used 1/4″ thick rounds). Place them around the bottom of a colander without packing them too tightly. You want to leave room for juices to drip out. As you put each row down, liberally sprinkle with salt. Make sure to cover each slice. The salt will draw out the bitter juices. If you are using lemon juice, do the same thing by sprinkling lemon juice over every row.
A Pressing Matter
Put the colander into a tray or dish to catch juices. Rest a small plate on top of the slices. Make sure it is smaller than the colander where the eggplant sits, you need it to be able to press on the slices, not the strainer. Put a very heavy weight onto the plate. Depending on what I have in the kitchen, I often use a 5 lb. bag of flour, a few cans of tomatoes, or today I have a very big can of olive oil that worked well. Make sure the slices are getting a good squish (add another can for weight, if needed).
Set that aside to press out the bitterness while you prepare the rest of your recipe. When it’s time to add the eggplant you’ll see there are brownish juices in the plate below, and the slices are slightly squashed. They are now perfect to soak up lots of flavor from your one pot ratatouille with pork!
So let’s get on to the recipe!
- 2 Eggplant small, peeled and sliced
- Sea salt
- 2 Yellow squash sliced
- 2 Zucchini small, cubed
- 1 Yellow onion small, thin sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced or sliced
- 1 lb Pork cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 sprig Basil fresh, or dried
- 1 sprig Rosemary
- 2 Bay leaves
- 14 oz Diced tomatoes with juice
- 14 oz Artichoke hearts small, cut in half or quarters
- 6 oz Tomato paste
- 14 oz Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas) with liquid
- 1 tin Anchovies
- 1/4 cup Olive oil extra virgin
- Black pepper
- Gather all tools and ingredients.
- Prepare the eggplant by peeling, and cutting into slices. Arrange the slices in a colander, sprinkling generously with salt (or lemon juice).Note: see the full description of this process in the blog post above)
- Press the eggplant with a heavy weight. Set aside.
- Cut pork into bite-sized cubes. Set aside.
- Cut up all vegetables, varying the size and shape of each type.
- Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the liquid. If you are using small whole ones, slice them in half.
- Add olive oil to the inner pot of your Instant Pot and use the Saute button. Allow the oil to get hot for a few minutes and then add the cubed pork. Brown on one side and then stir with a silicone spatula, scraping the pieces off the bottom. Brown on the other side. Turn off saute, but leave meat in the pot.
- On top of the meat, layer half of the squash, zucchini, eggplant, onion, and artichokes. Pour in half of the garbanzo beans with their juices. Do not mix.
- Dollop half of the tomato paste, and add half of the anchovies. Cut some of the basil over top as well. Crush the garlic into the pot. Do not mix.
- Repeat the layering, using the rest of the veggies, beans, anchovies, and herbs. Pour the can of diced tomatoes over the top. Salt and pepper. Again, do not mix!
- Put the lid on the pot and close the vent. Cook on manual, high for 30 minutes. Allow for a full natural pressure release until the pin drops.
- Serve hot, with some asiago cheese grated over top. You can accompany this meal with a crusty bread, if you like. Enjoy!