01 February 2009

Simple Baked Chicken

I made up this recipe tonight based on what I had in the fridge, and how much time I had, but it turned out pretty well. The beauty of it is, it has no seasonings, so you can dress it how you like afterwards. Tonight I served it atop coconut rice and garnished it with freshly chopped coriander and dollops of sambal barjak (chili lemongrass relish). I can equally well imagine it served on plain rice or pasta and drizzled with olive oil, and italian flavors such as chopped kalamata olives, sundried or fresh tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Or go Moroccan and serve with couscous, preserved lemon & harissa... or dress with cheese sauce...

2 onions, sliced & browned in some oil on low heat
3 or 4 cloves garlic, sliced & browned (throw into onion pan, when onions are nearly done)
1 large red capsicum (bell pepper), sliced
1 large carrot, julienne
1 large zucchini, cut into large chunks
1/2 eggplant, sliced (1 cm thick) & browned in oil
3 or 4 chicken thighs

Toss together all the ingredients except the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Add oil if needed to moisten all items. Place in a baking dish, making sure the chicken is buried. Place slices of eggplant over the top to cover. Cut some baking paper or foil to the shape of the baking dish, to act as a lid without sealing around the edges. Place on top. Bake at 180C (350F) for at least an hour. (I baked mine for an hour and a half because I was busy doing other things.) The resulting dish should have a lovely broth developed from the chicken and vegetables, so it tastes great with rice.

Here is my easy recipe for coconut rice, by the way:
1 cup jasmine rice
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup water
1 tablespoon fried onion (Asian condiment, or if you don't keep this in stock, simply sliver some onion and fry it gently until well browned)
pinch salt

Bring to a boil and allow to boil gently (not vigorously) for about 4 minutes until the liquid has evaporated to the same level as the top of the rice. Cover, and turn heat to low. The rice should be done in about 8 more minutes. Note if you prefer brown rice, use 2 cups water and adjust the timings accordingly.

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