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Ditch the red meat and enjoy this chicken and aubergine dish

Androulla DerbyshireAndroulla DerbyshireWith the storm over red meat continuing to blow, our resident cookery expert, Adroulla Derbyshire, serves up a dish of chicken and aubergines which offer a taste of the Mediterranean.

“Chicken Parmigiana is my variation of melanzane parmigiana which is made only with aubergines, and serves four people.

“I include chicken in my version as this makes for a complete meal. The Mediterranean flavours of tomatoes, garlic and basil remind me of warm Italian summers. It is delicious served with crusty bread and salad.”

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeIngredients

About 4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
100 ml dry white wine
1 bay leaf
small bunch of basil leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
3 aubergines, cut into slices about ½ inch thick
4 chicken breasts, bashed with a rolling pin to slightly flatten them.
2 x 150g balls of mozzarella, thinly sliced
100 g freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeMethod

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 200⁰ C. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the chilli, chopped tomatoes, wine and herbs. Add salt and pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat.

To prepare the aubergines, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a griddle pan until hot. Chargrill the aubergine slices on each side until they are soft. Repeat until you have cooked all the aubergines adding more oil as you need it. When all the aubergines have been prepared griddle your chicken breasts in the same pan until they are just cooked through and nicely marked with the griddle lines.

To assemble your chicken Parmigiana place a spoonful of the tomato sauce in an ovenproof dish. Cover with a layer of the aubergines, then a little more sauce. Sprinkle over some of the cheeses.

Continue with another layer of the aubergines, cheeses and tomato sauce and sprinkle over some chopped basil. Place the chicken in a single layer and then continue with your aubergine, cheeses and sauce until you have used all your ingredients. Finish the dish with a good sprinkling of the cheese.

Bake in the oven for 30 -40 minutes until the dish is bubbling and brown on top.

Marlborough-based Culinary Capers offers one-to-one coaching to people who'd like to learn to cook, or want to improve their skills. Unlike traditional cookery schools, Androulla visits the homes of clients to teach them cooking skills with their own equipment and based around their own dietary requirements and tastes. 

For further information and more free recipes log on to www.culinarycapers.co.uk

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