Mediterranean Chicken and Vegetable Stew

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Ingredients:

  • 4 Chicken Legs (Split into 4 thighs and drumsticks)
  • 1tbsp Herbs de Provence
  • 3 Zucchini (trimmed, quartered lengthwise, core removed and sliced into ½ inch pieces)
  • 3 Baby Eggplant (trimmed, quartered lengthwise, core removed)
  • 250g Cherry Tomatoes (washed and split in half)
  • 1 Small Bunch of Basil
  • 5 Sprigs of Thyme
  • 1litre Chicken Stock
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 2tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)

Instructions:

  1. Season the chicken thighs and drumsticks in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs de provence and let it marinate for 1-2hrs or preferably overnight.
  2.  Heat a large and wide saute pan over medium low heat, add 2tbsp of olive oil and cook your garlic until lightly brown and fragrant.  Add your tomato paste and cook for 1-2mins to remove the acidity.  Add your chicken stock, star anise. bay leaves and thyme.  Turn the heat up to medium high and allow the broth to come up to a boil.
  3. When the broth has come to a boil, carefully drop in your chicken pieces and turn down the temperature to low and allow the chicken to gently poach in the simmering broth for approximately 30-35mins.  The chicken should be cooked through, pale and tender.
  4. When the chicken has cooked through, add your zucchini, eggplant and cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 2-3mins until cooked but still slightly al dente.
  5. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste, finish with fresh basil leaves and serve.

Notes

  • This is a simple, delicious and hearty soup that’s basically a assembly of good ingredients.  The eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and garlic are a classic combination of the Mediterranean and work well together.
  • You may question that addition of the star anise in the recipe?  But the reason for it is because the star anise has a similar flavour profile to fennel, which is another traditional ingredient in the Mediterranean.  So the star anise has a nice background note to the dish and has good synergy with all the other ingredients.
  • The basil is added at the last moment right before serving in order to prevent them from wilting.  Basil is a very delicate soft herb, so you add it to the broth at the end to retain the fresh basil flavour.
  • When you’re poaching the chicken, it’s important to do it at a gentle simmer so that you don’t overcook your chicken.  If you’re not careful and boil your chicken, it’ll overcook and become tough and slightly dry.  By poaching it gently, it becomes tender, soft and succulent. 

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