Jan 24, 2010

chicken & eggplant bake

damn, it's cold outside! (-22C). it's even cold at work (have been wearing a woollen beanie indoors for days).

yesterday, after work, on my way home, i popped into a service station to get a lottery ticket (it's 5 million this week...). not sure how all this is related but as they have groceries i ended up getting chicken and an eggplant not quite knowing what i'd make of them.

after getting home i'd decided that i'd bake them. for some strange reason i had also decided that i absolutely needed to have a walk (it wasn't much "warmer" last night).

here's what went in:

4 chicken breasts (did "butterfly" them a bit to make thinner)
1 can crushed tomatoes (400 gr)
1 eggplant, cut into 2 cm cubes
2 gloves garlic
2 tbsp red pesto
12 olives (kalamata)
2 tbsp vegetable oil

to start with, i almost didn't find a suitable dish to bake this in. finally dug out this blue dish that used to belong to my mom's mother. it was quite snuggly, but it was either this or way too big (don't seem to have too much equipment at the apt). placed the chicken onto the dish and poured 1 tbsp oil on top

smashed the garlic gloves and put them in with olives

smeared pesto onto chicken

poured the cubed eggplant into the dish. didn't bother with sweating the eggplant with salt, sometimes i do it, sometimes i don't. figured that as this was going into the oven and baking for a while, sweating wouldn't be necessary

poured the tomatoes on top of eggplant, then 1 tbsp oil onto tomatoes. covered the dish with foil (as i wasn't sure how long my walk would be) and placed the dish into cold oven, then turned the oven to 200C and went out

after 45 mins i got my frozen butt in, took the foil out, turned the heat to 150C and continued baking for another 45 mins. did smooth out the top so that all of eggplant was submerged

had thought about boiling some brown rice to go with this but as there was plenty of eggplant, i didn't bother. as usual, no added salt. there is some salt in the olives, for me that was plenty

here's my dessert, celery with crunchy peanut butter, so good!

i thought of placing the chicken on top but then figured that since it was going to be in the oven quite long, it would dry out. this way the chicken was swimming in all the juices and remained moist inside. i guess you could go all vegetarian by changing the chicken to carrots, onions, parsnips, rutabaga, tofu, etc

ps. fresh basil as garnish wouldn't hurt, and maybe some parmesan as well...