This is yet another spur of the moment dinner, inspired purely by what I had left in the fridge - namely a pack of chicken thighs and an aubergine. I had to be out the door within the hour too - so it had to be ready in half an hour... and it was!
After the slight confusion from Tuesday's use of the word courgette (zucchini!), I think it may well be wise to explain up front that an aubergine is none other than the North American eggplant. What I didn't know, is that brinjal also means aubergine in India and South African English! (I always assumed it was an Indian ingredient that I couldn't get here!!)
Want more? Well, aubergine and brinjal have etymological similarities, both deriving from Arabic/Sanskrit. (The Sanskrit vatin-ganah begat the Persian badin-gan and badin-gan begat the Arabic al-badinjan and al-badinjan begat the Catalan albergínia and albergínia begat the French aubergine... which us Brits basically stole for our own!)
The North American/Australasian use of eggplant started in the 18th century - when some fruits* were white or yellow, and resembled goose or hen eggs!
Language lesson over for the day - let the recipe begin!
- 6 chicken thighs, bone in and with skin
- 1 aubergine (eggplant!)
- 100g chorizo, chopped into smallish chunks
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 250g orzo
- 1 tsp paprika
- cayenne pepper for seasoning chicken
- 250ml water or chicken stock
- oil to fry
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a hot pan. I used olive oil, tempered with some ground nut to reduce the smoke point. Throw in the chorizo and fry for a minute or two. Keeping it moving so it doesn't burn. Ideally we want some crispy edges... and for some of the tasty spicy oil to be released. Remove the chorizo from the pan and turn up the heat to very hot
Cut off any excess fat or skin from the chicken, leaving enough on protect the meat when searing. Season with salt and cayenne pepper.
When the oil is hot, carefully lay in the chicken thighs, skin side down. Allow to sear for 2/3 minutes - the skin should be nicely crisped and browned, but not burnt. Remove to a plate and reduce the heat to medium.
Prepare the Pasta...
In a saucepan, mix the orzo with the tomatoes, garlic, paprika and seasoning. Top up with the chicken stock or water and bring to the boil. Place the chicken thighs into the pan skin-side up, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes - or until the chicken is cooked through.
Prepare the Aubergine...
Meanwhile, cut the aubergine into 1" chunks and add them to the frying pan that the chicken/chorizo was cooked in. Fry until browned, but don't overcook!
When the pasta/chicken is ready, mix in the aubergine and serve. Preferably with a large glass of red!
Oh - I seem to have a three in one foodie event situation again!
As it cost about £3.70 (just over $7 ?) for the whole thing, I'm going to make this my second submission to Frugal Fridays! And if it's not quite as healthy as last week's entry - I still don't think it's doing too bad!!
Although almost all of my recipes are my own, I've singled this one this week to send to Lore at Culinarty for her Original Recipes event... It was just so yummy, I felt it had to be shared!
It's the first time I'd cooked with orzo - and I'm definitely going to be stocking up. I'm sending it to Ruth at Once Upon a Feast, who is hosting Presto Pasta Night this week!
* oh yeah, did I mention they are fruits not vegetables?!