I am currently enjoying Jersey’s finest. I’m not talking about reality TV or ‘The Shore’ (aka beach for anyone living outside of New Jersey), but New Jersey’s veggies are at their peak right now. Beautiful tomatoes, eggplants, corn - it’s not dubbed the Garden State 'for nuthin'!
Here’s a recipe that will help you get through it all, an exotic dish to brighten the weekday blues: Moroccan Chicken with Tomato & Eggplant. This is a version of the north African tagine, a stew which is cooked in a clay dish with a conical lid, but you can use a regular pan as we did. This is one of those meals that will taste even better the next day. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients, eight of them are spices so there’s not a lot of chopping! Leave out the chicken and make it vegetarian, add zucchini with the eggplant, or try it with beef, so many options, so versatile, so delicious! This is a great one for midweek company, it can be made ahead, is easy to double, and the sides are simple! xoxo Kirsty
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, sliced
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground with a pestle & mortar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 large fresh tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and chopped; OR 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup (235ml) water
3 tablespoons (45ml) fresh lemon juice
12 chicken thighs, preferable boneless and skinless
1 large eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
Fresh parsley to serve
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy, wide pot over medium heat. Add sliced onions and garlic. Cover and cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add paprika, salt, turmeric, coriander, fennel, pepper, cumin, and ginger; stir for 1 minute. Add drained tomatoes, water, and lemon juice; bring to boil. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the pot; spoon some sauce over and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Turn the chicken over, cover, and simmer until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F (200C). Brush a roasting tin with olive oil. Place eggplant and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl; toss to coat. Spread eggplant out on prepared baking sheet and bake until soft and brown, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.
Stir eggplant into chicken. Simmer uncovered 10 more minutes to heat through and blend flavors. Season stew to taste with more lemon juice, if desired, and salt and pepper.