I had a craving that revolved around tomatoes.....1 1/2 gorgeous tomatoes getting ready to tip over in my kitchen just begging to be used. Too much time at work = not enough time to hit up Trader Joe's for some fresh Mozz or Feta cheese....so I had to stick them in my fridge so they weren't wasted (god forbid).
After yesterdays insane food extravaganza I was craving something protein & veg filled...no bacon or cheese. Go ahead, make your surprised face, I can handle it. But seeing as the marine layer has settled in and isn't moving much, even in Ojai, I was craving something a little more comforting than ribs and grilled veggies (favorite summer meal!).
So while at work I tossed around the idea of chicken with tomatoes and olives...maybe some feta cheese over a tiny bit of pasta. Maybe add some peppers, spinach, mushrooms....it was a veritable whirlwind of produce floating over my head kind of like the cartoons when they get bopped over the head and stars float around...only mine were vegetables. Good visual?
Yeah, I know I am weird.
Things were settled when I hit up Trader Joe's for blueberries & milk for my cereal and I wandered past the eggplant. Big fat eggplant that would get all creamy on the inside after being roasted in a hot oven...that would then soak up the juices of a tomato-y broth seasoned with all kinds of fun spices.
It's a recipe that is a little daunting if only because the ingredient list is so damn long...but believe me, it is absolutely worth it to get all of those layers of flavor in one dish.
I posted on Facebook while cooking and almost had one of my girls from LA ready to drive up and eat with me...alas, she flaked and is missing out on truly kick ass leftovers. And this dish, like may, only gets better after thinking about itself overnight.
Without further adieu.....may I present....
Moroccan Chicken With Eggplant & Almonds
This makes enough for 8 + a little leftover...I cut it in to 1/3 and still have 3 meals :)
6 T Olive Oil, divided
3 C White Onions, Sliced
6 Large Garlic Cloves
1 T Sweet Paprika
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1 tsp Fennel Seeds, ground
1 ts Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
2 C Diced Tomatoes
1 C Water
3 T Lemon Juice
8 Chicken Thighs, skinned & Deboned
8 Chicken Drumsticks, skinned
1 Large Eggplant-see below for prep
1 T Chopped Fresh marjoram (or 2 T dried)
1/2 C Slivered Almonds
Chopped Cilantro for Garnish
Cut eggplant in 1" wide slices, salt both sides and let them sit until they weep...this helps to leach out any bitterness in the eggplant. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Cut in 1" chunks and toss with 4 T olive oil. Lay on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 for about 25-30 minutes, turning the pieces every 10 minutes until they are crispy. Set aside.
Heat 2 T olive oil in a large skillet and add onions & garlic, cover and cook until onions are soft. Add in all the spices and stir thoroughly. Add the liquid and tomatoes and bring to a boil. cook covered for about 10 minutes.
Arrange chicken in a single layer, spooning sauce over the pieces, reduce heat to Medium/Low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the chicken over once and simmer another 10 minutes, covered.
Stir eggplant & marjoram in to the chicken and simmer for another 10 minutes, uncovered. If there is too much juice, take some out and reduce it to concentrate the flavors.
Season with salt & pepper and more lemon juice if needed.
Serve over cous cous or by itself if you are going low carb. Sprinkle with the almonds and cilantro as a garnish.
Seriously, this does get better after sitting over night, I plan to have it for lunch both tomorrow & Wednesday. ;)