Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shepherd Chicken Stew with Preserved Lemon, Olives, Capers, and Eggplant

shepherd chicken stew with preserved lemon, olives, capers, and eggplant

I'm on a roll now, this is my riff on imam bayildi and I'm naming it after Book. You can't take the sky from me! If you don't have preserved lemon, you can just use anchovies like in the puttanesca version.

I am definitely plating these stews with cauliflower, to stretch them so I don't have to cook as much. I know the thing to do now is make cauliflower into rice, but I'm okay with cauliflower as cauliflower. I guess if it's too confusing to have something named shepherd that isn't covered with a potatoey crust, you could bake this under mashed cauliflower. I bet that would be good.

This is so, so delicious, but you might want to keep in mind that eggplant soaks up olive oil like a magic chamois and that's why so delicious.

an onion
two stalks celery
4-5 chicken thighs
2 cups water

2 lb eggplant
olive oil
2 Tbsp or half a small can of tomato paste
1 piece preserved lemon
about 20 kalamata olives
1 Tbsp capers

Peel and chop the onion, and trim and chop the celery including the leaves if they look nice. Put the onion, celery, chicken, and water in a soup pot and bring to a strong simmer over high heat. Then turn the heat to low and let simmer partially covered for an hour.

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Trim and thickly slice the eggplant. Generously brush a baking sheet with olive oil and lay out the eggplant slices in one layer— no salt, there will be other salty things coming up. Roast for 15 minutes, flip the slices then roast for another 15 minutes.

When the chicken is done, remove it to a cutting board and set aside. Pour the remaining broth and vegetables through a strainer, set aside the broth and discard the vegetables. I usually go do something else for a while and let the chicken cool almost completely, so I can take it apart with my hands. When the eggplant is done, it can hang out on the pan until the chicken is cool enough to skin and take apart with your hands. Then cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Mince the preserved lemon. Pit the olives by smashing them open under the flat of your knife and roughly chop them.

Pour the broth back into the soup pot, stir in the tomato paste, preserved lemon, olives, and capers. Simmer over medium high heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the eggplant and chicken and simmer a few more minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.