Chicken with Eggplants

Joojeh Bodemjune

By Reyna Simnegar

Published March 15, 2011.

You should have seen how long it took to make this chicken the “authentic” Persian style. Momonbosorgue (my husband’s grandma) taught me this dish and it took us the whole afternoon! She is the sweetest little lady and she really knows her food. I closely watched her while tending to this dish and measured her every move while she sang basunak (wedding songs)…. However, there was no way I was going to spend all that time in my kitchen making just chicken! So, here is the non-Persian-bride-friendly version. It tastes the same!

Courtesy of Feldheim Publishers

Tricks of the trade: If you don’t want to fry the eggplants, feel free to broil them. Although it is optional, gureh gives this recipe a great tangy taste and a very exotic look. Gureh is available at Middle Eastern shops.

1 chicken, cut in pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon salt, plus extra for the eggplant
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, pressed
½ cup water
1 eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into ½ inch slices
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rounds
¼ cup canola oil, for frying
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
¼ teaspoon saffron powder
½ cup gureh (unripe grapes) (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) In a 9″x13″ roaster, place the chicken pieces skin side up and sprinkle with onions. Rub the chicken with turmeric, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add the water, cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour.

3) In the meantime, sprinkle eggplant with salt. When they have sweated (about 15 minutes), rinse and dry them. Fry the eggplant in a medium skillet until browned. Set aside.

4) Remove the chicken from the oven, uncover, and use food tongs to transfer the chicken pieces from the roaster to a bowl. Add the tomato paste and saffron to the chicken juices in the roasting pan and mix well. Add the potatoes, covering the bottom of the roaster. Return the chicken pieces, skin side up, and drape the fried eggplant slices on top. Drizzle with gureh, if using. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for another hour.

Yield: 6-8 servings



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