Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sicilian Roast Chicken Caponata

Roast chicken with brown, crispy skin and roast vegetables.

The only magazine I subscribe to, Cooking Pleasures (now known as Cooking Club), is always received every other month with much joy. Each time, I spend about an hour flipping through it as soon as I get it. A weird phenomenon occurs: I don't find anything in the magazine immediately appetizing. It's not until weeks, months, or even years later when reviewing an old copy I say, "Wow! There's one I'd like to try! Why didn't this appeal to me before?"

This time, I made it a point to spend much more time perusing the latest copy. Then I decided to "go for the gusto" as Dad would say and just pick something from the magazine, whether or not I thought it pleasing at first (or last) glance.

I followed the recipe to a T (except for the fact that I used dried thyme instead of fresh) and present to you,

Sicilian Roast Chicken Caponata:

1 (5-lb.) chicken, cut-up, wings reserved for another use
1 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper, divided
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 (1-lb.) eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1 1/4-inch pieces (4 cups)
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, sliced
3 to 4 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped (4 1/2 cups)
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 c pitted Kalamata olives
2 tbsp capers, drained
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Heat oven to 425°F.

Sprinkle chicken with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add oil; heat until hot.

Cook chicken in batches 8 to 10 minutes or until browned, adjusting heat as necessary and turning once.

Place on large rimmed baking sheet. Scatter onions and garlic around chicken.

Add eggplant to skillet; cook over medium heat 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Toss eggplant, tomatoes and thyme with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Arrange over and around chicken. (Reserve skillet.)

Bake 30 minutes. Carefully stir in olives and capers; bake 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center and vegetables are slightly charred.

Remove chicken. Place vegetables in bowl with slotted spoon.

Pour pan juices into reserved skillet; bring to a boil over high heat.

Add vinegar; boil 6 to 9 minutes or until reduced by half and pan juices are slightly thickened (you’ll begin to see bottom of skillet when stirring).

Stir into vegetables; serve with chicken.

I thought this was completely fantastic and loved the crispy chicken and roast vegetables.  Even the new-to-us eggplant was great.  Rodney however had spied a caper, pointed it out, and asked me what it was.  I glanced at it and said, "a pea." I don't think he believed me because from that point on, Rodney decided he didn't like the vegetables.  The chicken though, Rodney had no problem puttin' away.

  • chicken:  $0.59/lb: $3.00
  • eggplant: $0.70
  • onions: $0.21
  • tomatoes: $2.76
  • Kalamata olives and capers: $1
Total: $7.67.  Let's round it up to $8 to cover cost of oil, salt, pepper, vinegar, etc.  That's $2.67 for each of three servings, 1 of which is Rodney-sized. 

I'll definitely be making this again in the future, though without the caper "peas".