Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Moroccan Chicken and Eggplant Dish

I don't really have a story behind this, or anything interesting to say about this dish really, except that it came about because I was planning on making this Moroccan Lemon Chicken on Friday but I realized I had used up all the lemons I had. Lemon being a pretty important part of that recipe, of course, I made up something entirely different but using the same spices as the lemon chicken recipe.

The nice thing with this as well it that it is a one pot meal. Well maybe it's technically two, as you need a baking sheet to roast the eggplant, but I always line my baking sheets with foil so that I don't have to wash them. Leftovers are really good as well- just make sure to cover the plate or dish you are warming it up in so that you don't end up with rice and tomato sauce on the roof of your microwave like I did.

Serves 4

1 eggplant, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp lemon pepper, or the rest of 1 lemon if you have it and increase the pepper when you season
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tomatoes, diced, or use some drained canned diced tomatoes if this is what you have on hand
1/2 cup black olives, chopped
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1/2 cup long grain rice
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a bowl, toss eggplant with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste*. Place eggplant in a single layer on foil lined baking sheet coated with cooking spay. Roast eggplant in middle of oven until golden brown- about 20 minutes- stirring eggplant halfway through cooking to ensure all sides are browning evenly.

Heat a large skillet with about 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until softened. Add spices, cook for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, olives, crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper to season, and water. Bring to a simmer. Stir in rice and add chicken pieces on top. Cover pan and cook until rice is cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Add roasted eggplant, stir to combine. Adjust seasoning and serve.

*I never measure salt and pepper unless I'm actually following a recipe. I seasoned the eggplant with 2 big pinches of kosher salt and maybe 8 grinds of pepper, so I don't know the measurements. Go with your gut, you can always adjust the seasoning later.

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