The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the "buts" you use today. – Les Brown
|This is pretty nice. The chicken is essentially wine-steamed.|
I called this “country cookin’” although it’s actually Italian-inspired, if anything. I guess that’s someone's country cooking... This recipe is the first to be done living in the country.
|Left: the dish partially layered; top: Italian parsley;|
right: raw chicken cubes.
So today is the first "real" instalment of cooking in Greenfield. I have made dishes here in the past – many actually – but this is the first one with us calling Greenfield "home."
It may or may not be that difficult to pull off interesting food here. The "weird" ingredient – eggplant – is easy enough to get in an adjacent town. Italian parsley can be picked up there as well.
I made this from a few fresh purchases and my lightly stocked pantry. We just moved in so you can imagine the state things are in.
I had no cheese. That was supplied by our village corner store. Mozzarella. Life is good. It’s the perishables, like fresh herbs, that will be difficult until Spring arrives.
You have to plan when you're not within walking distance or easy drive of a grocery, and you have to make sure you have all your staple goods, as well as some not-so-staples, in your grocery bag when you do shop.
Always have a diverse and well stocked pantry. That way you will be at the ready for whatever combinations your mind may conjure – like this dish.
I believe the whole affair will be manageable without too much trouble if I keep ,y sits about me. Only time will tell.
This night's offering has lots of flavour from the fried eggplant and seared onions.Pre-bake browning gets as much deep, smokey flavour into this dish as possible.
In case anyone thinks I'm living the country life and twiddling my thumbs, think again. I worked all morning and then made this – and a loaf of bread – in the afternoon.
If you're interested, the bread recipe is tomorrow's post. Y'all come back now. Y'hear.
Smokey Eggplant Chicken
Prep 30 min | Bake 45 min | Serves 4-6
1 medium eggplant
2 chicken, breasts, boneless and skinless
2 medium onions
3 garlic clovesgarlic
28 oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup white wine
1-1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp chilli flakes
16 pitted black olives
1/2 cup Italian parsley, fresh
125 g mozzarella cheese, grated
salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Slice the eggplant into eight evenly thick slices. Heat some olive oil in a wide frying pan.
Fry the slices until well browned, seasoning with salt and pepper as they fry. Do not crowd the pan. Turn and brown the other side. Use more oil as needed. Remove the slices to a plate.
Slice the onions into thick rings. Leave them whole. Add to the frying pan and let cook until browned on each side. Then add the chopped garlic and stir to break up the individual rings.
After 30 seconds, add the tomato and liquid, 1/4 cup of the white wine, the oregano, basil chilli flakes and salt and pepper. let cook for about 10 minutes. Do not let the mixture dry out, but the tomatoes should soften.
Cut the chicken into large cubes and set aside. Slice the olives in half.
To assemble, place four of the eggplant slices on the bottom of an 8" x 8" baking dish. Layer with 1/2 of the tomato sauce. Then sprinkle with the black olives.
Arrange the chicken on top of the olives. Sprinkle with salt and plenty of pepper. Tear up 1/2 cup of fresh Italian parsley and scatter on top. Then add the final four slices of eggplant and the remaining sauce.
Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of white wine around the edge and top with the grated cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for between 45-55 minutes.
Serve with pasta as a (very) chunky sauce with a lemon wedge on the side.
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