Baked Chicken with Eggplant and Labneh Dip
FEATURING MONJAY MEZZA’S LABNEH DIP
Not much needs to be done to enjoy our products, Break open a packet of your favourite crackers or cut a carrot into batons and dip away. Or simply arrange our delicious finger foods on a platter and watch them crowd around. But the potential of our range is so much more, and we want to prove it. So we've created our very own recipe page to show you the versatility of our products. Dips to marinate or bake with, finger food transformed into main meals - the limit is your imagination.
Let’s get one thing straight. This is not a 500-calorie meal. This is a recipe for succulent, bone-in chicken thigh with roasted eggplant and red wine vinegar and sundry other delicious ingredients … that just happens to contain no more than 500 calories per serve. It was an accident, and you’re welcome.
It's inspired in part by Sicily’s famous caponata, a dish full of piquant, robust agrodolce flavours perfectly representative of the island’s culinary bent. Traditionally a vegetarian meal, we’ve included chicken thigh because it works so well with these flavours without stealing the limelight from the true hero in this recipe, the eggplant.
When it comes to eggplant, a lot of recipes call for you to salt it and leave it to drain. Some believe this is done to draw out bitterness, others do it to extract moisture. It’s not a necessary step, but if your eggplant contains less moisture when it hits the pan, it will have a greater ability to soak up the flavours your cooking it in. It’s your call.
We’ve used bone-in chicken thigh, but if all you can get your hands on are thigh fillets then just reduce the time in the oven to around 30 minutes. They should still be tender and juicy.
- 6 chicken thighs, bone-in
- Olive oil
- 2 large eggplants
- An onion
- A long red chilli
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Stalk of rosemary
- 30g capers
- 100g pitted kalamata olives
- 3 large tomatoes
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Monjay Mezza’s Lebneh Dip
How to Prepare
Set the oven to 180.
Put a large frying pan on to a medium high heat. Rub the chicken with the oil, sprinkle generously with salt and seal in the pan until nicely golden. Remove to a plate; don’t worry, it’s not meant to be cooked through yet.
While the chicken was browning, you should have been chopping the eggplant into inch-thick chunks because you read ahead. Add to the pan with a drizzle more olive oil and fry until it starts to get nicely browned, then turn the heat down and add the onion, which you’ve already diced.
Slice the chilli (keep the seeds, otherwise it’s a mini capsicum) and add to the onion. Bash the garlic clove with the flat of your knife and denude it. Strip the leaves off the rosemary stalk and, along with the garlic clove, roughly chop. Add to the pan.
Add the capers and olives and give everything a stir. The onion should be just starting to tan at the edges.
Chop the tomatoes roughly and squeeze them, a handful at a time, over the pan, then drop the pulverised chunks in.
Add the brown sugar and the vinegar, turn the heat down and let it all bubble away very gently for 15 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan along with its resting juices and around 300 to 400ml of water. Check for seasoning and correct to taste.
If your frying pan isn’t oven safe, tip it all into a roasting dish that will keep everything relatively snug, then bake for around 45 minutes.
When done, dollop over mini Alpine-esque mountains of our Labneh, and serve. Obviously, have more Labneh on the table for others to customise their plate with.
With a crunchy salad, this meal really is enough on its own. But if you want to extend it or feel like a bit of carb, it works perfectly with a smooth mash to soak up the juices, or fat tubes of pasta, like rigatoni.
A velvety smooth thick yoghurt. This versatile dip is the perfect accompaniment to fresh fruit, in wraps and sandwiches, or as a tangy side to a meat dish. Mix our labneh with olive oil and fresh herbs such as parsley, dill or marjoram to make a fresh taste that all will enjoy. For a decadent treat to go with coffee, split open dates and stuff with our special labneh, then sprinkle with crushed pistachios. The very definition of indulgence!
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