I got back to South Carolina Tuesday night from a 2 week trip to Texas. My sons and I had a great time visiting family and friends, but it is good to be home. My husband did not go on the trip with us. While he was home, he looked after my garden and picked up our CSA boxes. I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of produce (tomatoes, a variety of peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, corn, winter squashes, and blueberries) I came home to. It was time to get to work.
I was too tired to go to the grocery store Wednesday, so I came up with this dish. I really liked how this Mediterranean-inspired concoction turned out. Summer comfort food. I added a dash of Penzey’s Bourquet Garni herb mix (a mix of savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, marjoram, sage, and tarragon) to the veggie mixture as it cooked. I didn’t include it in the recipe, but feel free to add your favorite herbs/herb mix. Serve this stew-like dish over rice or pasta (orzo).
Eggplant, Peppers, and Tomatoes with Chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I cut them in half horizontally to make the pieces smaller)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Italian eggplant, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch pieces (or use equivalent amount of Japanese eggplant)
2 bell peppers, stem removed, seeded, and chopped
3 large tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the oil. Cook the chicken until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add the chopped onions to the pan and cook until softened. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes, and cook until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces back to the mixture and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the veggies and chicken are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and season the dish with salt and black pepper. Serve with hot rice or pasta.
I’ve been in the mood for a new vegetarian burger lately. Bean burgers are pretty easy to make and can be varied by type of bean and veggies added to the mixture. This burger can be made with any canned bean (pintos or black beans would be excellent too). Wheat germ or oat bran can be subbed for part of (I would not replace all , though) the bread crumbs in this recipe. These patties hold together very well and can also be grilled. This recipe makes 6 bun-sized patties. Cook them all and freeze any leftovers. They can be be reheated in the microwave for a quick meal. I served the red bean serrano burgers with crispy oven fries.
Red Bean Serrano Burgers
1 (15.5oz) can kidney beans, drained
3 T. freshly minced onion
1 serrano chile pepper, seeded and minced (jalapeno may be used instead)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
2 T. barbecue sauce
1/3 to 2/3 cup bread crumbs (a little more if needed)
In a bowl, mash beans with a fork. Add minced onion, serrano, garlic, seasoning, barbecue sauce, and egg. Mix well. Add bread crumbs, enough so the mixture can be formed into patties that hold together. Take about a palm-ful amount of mixture and shape into a pattty (roll mixture into a ball and then press down gently with fingers, turning to ensure evenness, to flatten). Repeat with remaining mixture.
Fry patties in a small amount of oil or butter in a (cast-iron or other nonstick) skillet over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes on each side. Sliced cheese may be melted over the top.
Serve burgers on toasted whole grain buns with desired condiments. I like mine with brown mustard, lettuce, sliced tomato, pickles, and pepper jack cheese.