Eggplant Caponata with Crispy Chicken Thighs
Active Time: 45-50 minutes / Cook Time: 30-35 / minutes / Total Time: 75-85 minutes
Makes 4 servings
Chef’s Tip: Unless you are using a squeeze tube of tomato paste, separate remaining paste into tablespoons and freeze flat on a parchment-lined baking dish that will fit in your freezer. When frozen, peel the tomato paste off, pop it into a plastic bag, and store it in the freezer. It will keep up to six months.
- 2 teaspoons ghee
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1/4 teaspoon each fine sea salt and ground black pepper
- Eggplant Caponata:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, plus more if necessary
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small onion, peeled and diced
- 1 medium eggplant (about 1 lb.)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste*
- 1/2 lb. plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup shredded basil, parsley, and/or mint
- Preheat the oven to 425° F. Heat ghee in an ovenproof medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the chicken and place skin-side down in the pan. Cover with a splatter screen or piece of aluminum foil. Do not move it for at least 5-8 minutes. It will release easily when the skin is rendered and crispy.
- Flip the chicken over and carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Depending on the size of the chicken thighs, roast for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through. When done, set aside until the caponata is cooked.
- While the chicken is cooking, heat the coconut oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the celery, bell pepper, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to soften. Push them to one side of the pan and add the eggplant; if it immediately soaks up all of the oil, add 1/2 tablespoon more. Cook, undisturbed, until the eggplant starts to brown on one side, 4-5 minutes. Stir all of the vegetables together.
- Add garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste to the pan. Stir until everything is well-combined, and cook 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, capers, and raisins and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the vinegar, honey, and salt. Stir well to combine. Taste; there should be a sweet-tart balance between the vinegar and honey. Add a splash of either to correct the balance, if necessary. Stir in the olive oil and fresh herbs.
- Serve 1 chicken thigh and 1/4 of the caponata per person for dinner tonight, and package the remaining chicken and caponata for lunch tomorrow.