Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chicken in Catalan Ratatouille

So, as you may or may not know... chicken is my least favorite meat. I don't know why - since it seems to be everyone favorite meat. The default when you do not know what to cook. But for me, chicken takes the most effort. I think because it doesn't have a strong flavor.  could be? maybe?  Or perhaps, I'm just ornery and do not want to like what everyone else apparently loves.  Probably, the later.  *grin*

Well, I made this chicken dish and took some into work to give to a friend who LOVES chicken.  I took enough for her to share with her hubby... but she said it was so good she ate it all. I think that is the best part about cooking - the joy that people have in eating what I make.

So, a bit about this recipe. I have a cookbook I bought at Costco, after we came from Spain the first time around. We had loved the food and I saw this cookbook. For $10, how could I go wrong? And, it's a great buy. So far everything I've made from it has been wonderful - and for the most part I follow the recipe. sort-of.

The book is called: The Food of Spain

Now how can one go wrong with that? And, it has little stories about the food. Which I always find fun and interesting. This dish, is from Catalan. Hence, the alternate name for it Chicken in Catalan Ratatouille. Apparently, the Catalans say it is from Samfaina/Valencian. 

Both Catalan and Valencian food is considered Mediterranean cuisine. The food is based on a mixture of vegetables and meats - like paella - which are slow cooked to bring out the flavors. With Spain having both the European and the Moorish influences, the food is rich, warm and tasty - which is especially great as winter is coming to the Midwest. 

That being said - if you want the original recipe - go buy the book. ;)  They did have zucchini in this recipe that I didn't have at the time - but I would probably add it in for the next go.  Or another green vegetable.  As colors go, this one is very pretty - especially when you do the yellow bell peppers. Which always seem so bright and happy to me. 

Chicken in Samfaina sauce

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces*
1/4 cup butter 
2 large onions, chopped
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into bite sized cubes
3 cloves garlic (I think there might have been more), crushed / minced
2 large bell peppers, cut into cubes (different colors is nice)
14 oz chopped tomatoes (puree of tomatoes works too)
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped oregano and parsley
1/2 cup white wine

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Officially, you are suppose to brown the pieces - but I'm always too lazy.

Heat butter in a nice sized, deep frying pan/skillet. Add onions, cook for about 10 min until softened. Add garlic, eggplant and bell peppers. Cook for another 10 min or so.

Add wine and deglaze the pan (pulling up the brown bits). Add tomatoes, bay leaf, herbs. Add chicken. Bring to a boil - and then turn down to a simmer over low heat. Cook covered for about 45 min. Or until chicken is cooked and eggplant has softened / disappeared (depending on how small you chopped up the eggplant. I did really small so that the BF wouldn't find it. )

*note: I cut up the chicken legs into 2 parts at the joint, leaving them on the bone. The breast pieces, I cut up into four large cubes. While they will not cook exactly the same time, the breast pieces will cook a bit faster than the legs - the amount of liquid in the dish will keep everything nice and moist.

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