Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sam's Casablanca Chicken

I love Facebook. I mean, where else can you find out what happened to that person from high school, get parenting advice from an old college friend, AND get recipes from someone you don't often see "in real life." That's where I got this recipe: a facebook friend posted it with thanks to someone I don't know--presumably a friend of hers.

I held onto it for a while because it doesn't seem all that kid-friendly and I wasn't even sure The Big Geek would eat it. Well, as it turns out the little geeks ate the chicken and the noodles, and TBG and I really enjoyed it. By the time everything cooks you don't even realize there is eggplant in it, and the flavors combine to make something pretty darned tasty. I had prepared myself for a struggle at dinner but it turned out just fine.

The other great thing about this recipe is you make it in the crock pot--perfect for long days, because you come home to a prepared meal and only need to boil some noodles or cook some rice to be ready to eat.

8 skinless chicken thighs (recipe calls for bone-in but I used boneless as it's what I had and it turned out fine)
1 large eggplant (1.5 lbs), peeled and cubed
3/4 lb plum tomatoes, in 1/2 inch chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, in 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup red onions
8 marinated sun-dried tomato halves, drained and cut into strips (dried ones are ok if you can't find the marinated ones--mine came in strips so I guessed on the amount)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 large crushed garlic cloves (or the pre-minced kind if you're lazy like me)
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 can rinsed & drained chick peas (aka garbanzo beans)
2 Tbsp peanut butter (I must confess I used more than this)

Trim fat from chicken (mine didn't have much). In crock pot, combine eggplant through red pepper flakes and mix well. It will look as if there isn't enough liquid, but there will be when it's finished cooking. Place chicken on top, bone side up (if bone-in). Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours (or on high 2 1/2-3 hours, but I didn't try this). Stir in chick peas and peanut butter. Let stand 5 min. Serve with chopped peanuts as a garnish if desired (I didn't have any so I skipped this, but it would be tasty).

The recipe suggests serving it over egg noodles, which was good, but I also think it would be good with rice or quinoa. This makes A LOT of food. TBG said he thought the chicken should be shredded and mixed in, which you certainly could do if you wanted. I liked being able to make the little geeks plates of chicken and noodles, NOT touching, that they would actually eat. Neither of them would eat the veggie mixture.

Give it a try. I know it sounds weird, but it really is tasty!

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