Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chicken with aubergines, tomatoes and onions

...or Chicken from Provence? Last night's dinner.

Slit the small to medium aubergines from tip to tip, in several slices, without detaching at the stalk end. Put them in the pan you're going to roast them in and spread them a little like fans half unfurled. Cut tomato and onion slices (onion thinner, tomato fatter slices), and put both of these inbetween the leaves of the aubergines: so you have aubergine tomato onion aubergine tomato onion...etc. Season, and slosh some olive oil over them. Bake for about forty-five minutes to an hour at 400'F/200'C.

And that's your meal, if you don't eat meat.

If you do (eat meat, that is) add to the pan (or skottel*) some of your favourite chicken bits. I am partial to the thigh-drumstick combo, as the meat stays juicy and can roast longer without drying out, and makes some good, crackling skin, too. Sprinkle oregano leaves over it, and lemon juice and add salt and pepper. Roast them together with the aubergines. I added a handful of garlic cloves, unskinned. These become beautifully soft and the idea is to combine in a forkful, the chicken, some garlic, and the caramelized onion/tomato and melted aubergine.

* Afrikaans: 'or dish'.

I'm feeling a bit grumpy. As I was writing this post smoke billowed thrice from the oven where a potato gratin and a roasting, bone-in pork loin are sharing space. The gratin bubbled over. Milk on oven floor = 911 smoke. And it stinks. Happened two more times. I'm an idiot. I used to be able to cook: foie gras terrine (once), souffles, demi glace and Sauce Espagnole, puff pastry houses for butter-poached lobster, 8 course individually plated dinners, Crepes Suzette like tissue paper.


Each time the smoke issued forth I whipped out the precious pig with its crust of herbs and mustard and nest of quinces and apples, worried that it would taste like burned milk. It's back in. We'll see.

Eyes smarting. The cat's gone for the fire brigade.

Where have all the truffles gone?

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