I had a craving for eggplant and stumbled upon this recipe in my collection of cookbooks. The original version of the recipe calls for the eggplant to be deep fried before adding it to the braised chicken. I wanted to make a slightly healthier version so I decided to roast it instead. The recipe is very simple and either way you decide to make it, by deep frying or simply roasting the eggplant, it's delicious and a must try.
Adapted from Rosetta Costantino, My Calabria, Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South
Makes 8 servings
- 2 large globe eggplants
- Olive oil
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 ounces pancetta, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 cup fresh summer tomatoes, diced
- 1 to 2 fresh hot Hungarian wax peppers, sliced lengthwise in half
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Cut eggplant into 1-to-2-inch cubes. Place on a paper towel, liberally sprinkle with salt, and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place eggplant cubes on a baking sheet with sides and drizzle with olive oil. Roast eggplant for 25 to 30 minutes.
Step 3: While the eggplant is roasting, generously season the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides. In a Dutch oven wide enough to hold 4 chicken thighs in one layer, heat a thin layer of oil olive over medium heat. Add pancetta and garlic and sauté 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic is golden but not burnt.
Step 4: Sauté the chicken thighs in 2 batches. Add 4 chicken thighs skin-side down to dutch oven and brown on high heat until the skin is crispy, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and brown the other side for an additional 5 minutes. Turn flame down if necessary to avoid burning the chicken. Transfer the 4 thighs to a plate and repeat the above procedure for the other 4 chicken thighs.
Step 5: When the chicken thighs are browned, remove chicken to a plate, drain off the extra fat from the dutch oven, and retain the pancetta and garlic.
Step 6: Return the chicken to the pot and add the white wine and cook on medium to high heat, until all wine is evaporated.
Step 7: Add diced tomatoes and hot Hungarian wax peppers to the chicken and pancetta and gently stir until the tomatoes break down and make a sauce, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 8: When the tomatoes have turned to sauce, the chicken should be cooked through. Add the roasted eggplant and gently combine the eggplant into the sauce and chicken. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
Step 9: Sprinkle with chopped basil or parsley and serve