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This Provencal vegetable stew will become more flavorful after resting for a while. Make it a day in advance and then reheat slowly for optimum flavor. If you happen to have fresh basil on hand, throw in some coarsely chopped leaves at the end right before serving. To make a strictly vegetarian dish, simply omit the tasso.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped Tasso or spiced ham
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1/2 pound)
  • 3 cups chopped, peeled, and seeded fresh tomatoes, or 3 cups chopped canned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme


  • Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the tasso and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly wilted. Add the eggplant and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until slightly tender. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, garlic, basil, and thyme. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture is a little soupy. The vegetables should have a little crunch to them.

  • Serve warm or it can be cooked a day ahead. It gains in flavor when reheated.