Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hunter-style Chicken with Eggplant
This is delicious and fairly simple to make. If you do not like eggplant, frankly, you could leave it out or put potatoes or mushrooms or something else in instead. I like the eggplant, though.
You need:

1/2 cup of pancetta, diced (you could substitute bacon or even ham)
4 cloves of garlic; less if you don't like it, more if you do!
cooking oil
salt and pepper
1 large eggplant or a couple of the little ones
3-4 pounds of chicken. I used boneless, skinless thighs 
2 12-ounce cans of diced tomatoes (or you can peel, seed and chop fresh ones in season)
1 cup dry white wine
kosher salt (table salt will do if you don't have this) 
other seasonings you like; I used some Ancho chile powder and a dash of cayenne 
a big skillet
a Dutch oven 

First, slice the eggplant into strips, peel on. Put in a large colander over the sink or over a bowl and sprinkle liberally with the kosher salt. Let sit and drain for 30 minutes to an hour.
 Peel and mince the garlic. Put a tablespoon of so of oil in the skillet over medium heat and saute the pancetta and garlic just until the garlic is light golden. Don't burn it. Remove them from the pan.

Season the chicken with salt, pepper and whatever. Add a tablespoon or so of oil to the Dutch oven and, if the skillet is "dry," add some more oil to it. Saute the chicken in both pans  until lightly browned. (Two pans makes it easier to get all the chicken lightly browned; or you can work in batches.) Now you can put all the chicken into the Dutch oven.

Add the pancetta and garlic. Add a half cup to a cup of wine and simmer until it reduces.  Drain the tomatoes and add them. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes.

Pat the eggplant strips dry with paper towel. Add a little more oil to the skillet and saute them until they are soft and lightly browned. Then add them to the chicken for the last 5 minutes or so of cooking.

You can eat this by itself or over rice or pasta. It makes its own sauce with the wine and liquid from the tomatoes (even after you've drained them, they're pretty juicy). The great thing is that the chicken comes out tender and very moist.





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This is me enjoying a limoncello in Rome on the last night of our trip to Italy. Funny thing is, I don't really like limoncello that much, but thought it would be great in a dessert. And wouldn't you know, The Barefoot Contessa just did a great fruit salad with limoncello. So now I can't. Oh, well.