Thursday, January 14, 2016

Eggplant Ratatouille with Lemon Marinated Chicken Breast

Good Evening Everyone!
Tonight we use the remaining, mutant, chicken breast that should be left over from the dill mustard chicken packets. I have modified this recipe from a recipe by Maria Hines when she was a guest on Cooking with Nick Stellino.  If you have not heard of Nick Stellino, you should truly look him up.  He has a cooking show on Create TV on PBS, which is free (FRUGAL)  and he does amazingly, delicious dishes.  He is also hilarious to watch.  I adore him. I saw this dish and it made me want to try Ratatouille, even though I hate eggplant!  I'm glad I did, this dish is delicious. If you want to see his video on how to make the dish, here is the link:

My version of this dish is different -  mostly because I have modified it to serve 2 people rather than four-- but I love watching professionals cook and seeing how they do things.


Eggplant Ratatouille with Lemon Marinated Chicken Breasts

Juice from half a lemon  (I have used balsamic vinegar in pinch and tastes good)
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (I like to skip the salt and use Creole seasoning instead)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 chicken breast (cut in half and pounded with a meat mallet to make the breasts an equal thickness for more universal/even cooking)

For the ratatouille:
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 small eggplant or half a large eggplant , peeled and diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small green bell pepper,  seeded, rinsed and diced
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil or 2 roma tomatoes (If using the roma tomatoes, I like to add a little basil, about 1/2 a tsp.  I find this gets closer to the taste of the sundried tomatoes than just the plain tomatoes.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste  (Again, I skip the salt and use Creole Seasoning)
1/4 cup chardonnay  (to save money, buy the small bottles that you can get for about $1.50 in the grocery store--drink the rest while you cook.  Lovely and frugal!!!)
1/2 tsp. or 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley  (I like dill and have substituted that for the parsley, but I don't think that is very French.)

1.  In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper (or creole seasoning) and garlic.  Place the chicken breasts in a large ziplock plastic bag.  Add the lemon mixture to the bag and coat the chicken thoroughly.  Set aside.
2.  Preheat the grill.  If you are cooking on a grill pan indoors on the oven, skip this step and move on to step three.
3.  In a medium size pan, heat 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until the onion starts to soften, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper and tomatoes.  Stir to combine.  Season with black pepper and salt (or replace salt with Creole seasoning). Cover the pan with a lid and let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. When the ratatouille has only about 10 minutes left to cook, heat your grill pan (if you are using a grill, you have already heated your grill).  Remove chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place the chicken on the grill and grill for about 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until done. (Use your meat thermometer!!! Or, if you don't have one, when you think the chicken is done, slice in the middle of one chicken breast with a sharp nice and make certain the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink.)  Remove the chicken from heat, put on a serving platter and cover loosely with a piece of foil.  Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes.
5.  To finish the ratatouille, this will be right around the time that the chicken is resting, add the Chardonnay and stir to combine. Let the wine cook off, gently scraping the pan with a non-metal spoon to deglaze it. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference.  (This is where you can add more herbs, salt and pepper to your taste.)  Add 1/2 tsp. or 1 tsp. vinegar.  Add the parsley and stir so all ingredients are mixed together.

Spoon the ratatouille onto plate.  Add the chicken breasts.

TIP:  In the video, they used circle molds to mold the ratatouille into these circle modes to make this very elegant presentation and I fell in love with it.  I wanted to do and went to buy myself some food molds.  I thought they would be around $5.00.  I was so wrong!!!  Not to be deterred, I realized that I could probably make one from something I had around the house.  I had purchased two small cans of water chestnuts to add to an Asian stir-fry I was trying.  With the top and bottom of the cans removed, the stickers removed, and the cans cleaned and sterilized, I now had the perfect food molds.  Ha zah!   If you don't eat water chestnuts, the small size tuna cans are the right size and would probably work.  I would just make certain that they have been thoroughly cleaned and have absolutely NO trace of tuna left before you use them.

NOTE: If you want to add a starch to this meal, this dish goes very well with wild rice, cooked in chicken broth and seasoned with herbs. (You pick the herbs, but I like dill.)

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