mid-week baked chicken with aubergine and courgette ragout
This is a great one pot meal that is quick and flavoursome, it's especially good for mid-week when you just can't think what to make, are bored with the usual Winter dishes and are ready to transition to lighter more vibrant and colourful style of cooking.
I really love these kinds of recipes as they are easily adaptable to accommodate dietary needs as well as personal preferences. For example, if you simply cannot stand aubergines just add more courgettes, if you hate courgettes and love peppers use those instead.
The ragout makes a great pasta sauce, so if you have vegetarians in the family make up a double batch of the sauce, split it and make one a pasta bake and top the other half with the chicken.
I have specified chicken breasts which can easily be substituted using 2 thighs on the bone per person; they will need longer cooking so increase the timings by 15-20 minutes; or feel free to use skinless and boneless breasts or thighs if you want to reduce the fat content.
The ragout can be made well in advance, and even frozen, but for best results the chicken is best cooked just before serving.
It partners well with rice, couscous, freekeh, pasta shapes or even quinoa for a delicious low-carb alternative.
BAKED CHICKEN WITH AUBERGINE & COURGETTE RAGOUT.
3 tablespoons mild olive oil
4 chicken breast fillets
2 banana shallots roughly chopped or 1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic smashed
1 medium aubergine chopped
4-6 sprigs thyme
2-3 sprigs rosemary
2 courgettes chopped
1/2 glass white wine
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
Handful of chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 190c/gas 5.
Heat a large heavy frying pan over a medium heat and add half the oil. Season the chicken breasts and brown in the oil on both sides until golden.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the shallots, aubergines, garlic and half the thyme and rosemary and cook for about 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and the aubergines are beginning to go soft.
Season well with salt and pepper and then add the courgettes, stir through and add the wine. Allow it to bubble and reduce by about half.
Put a greased roasting tin in the oven to warm up.
Stir the tomatoes through the vegetables and tip them into the roasting tin.
Place the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables and scatter on the rest of the herbs.
Bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving on warmed plates scattered with the chopped parsley.