Recipe: Orange honey chicken and ratatouille

Question: What do you do when you have a large eggplant, four chicken thighs, a punnet of button mushrooms and a bag of oranges in your fridge?

Answer: Make orange honey chicken and ratatouille!!

Orange honey chicken

Okay, so when I look at eggplant, I instantly think ratatouille. It’s a perfect summery dish for the early heatwave that has hit Perth this week plus it’s packed with lots of vegetables – and I was seriously craving some fresh vegetables as I’d barely eaten anything healthy since we came home from our big NY-Euro trip.

This time, I also planned on adding a splash of white wine inspired by Victoria McGinley of VMac+Cheese’s heavenly looking ratatouille recipe. I also ended up using substituting grape tomatoes for roma tomatoes because… well, it’s  a long story but my car immobiliser battery died on me as I was about to go grocery shopping.

In the frenzy of getting my car started and hunting around for any shop that might stock those tiny A27 batteries (finally found ’em at a newsagent just as I was about to give up hope), I was running out of time to get my cooking and grocery shopping done before I had to head in to work so I ended up running frantically down the fruit and veg aisle in the supermarket, throwing groceries at random in a basket. When I got home, I realised I had forgotten the roma tomatoes so had to make do instead with some leftover grape tomatoes in the fridge (it’s all about using what’s left over in your fridge in this meal!) and I think it actually ended up turning out well. The grape tomatoes stayed firm throughout the cooking whereas diced tomatoes would have gone mushy and they added a lovely sweet-and-tart taste to balance out the rest of the flavours in the dish.

I knew I also had to serve some sort of meat with the ratatouille to make J happy so I decided to make lemon honey chicken. However, due to all that running out looking for tiny batteries, I also forgot to get lemons from the shop and the tree in our backyard (our usual lemon source) was all out of lemons. We did, however, have a large bag of oranges sitting on our counter top and I decided to use these instead and add an extra shot of Vitamin C to our mid-week dinner.

Although the prep and cooking had to be rushed due to that darn car battery hunt, I have to say the meal turned out pretty damn fantastic! A perfect hump day meal on a hot summer’s day.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Olive oil
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 zucchini
2 capsicums (bell peppers)
1 large eggplant
1 punnet grape tomatoes (or 4 roma tomatoes, diced)
2-3 teaspoons of Italian seasoning (marjoram, thyme and rosemary)
2-3 generous splashes of white wine
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Fresh chopped basil

Dice onion, zucchini, capsicums and eggplant into cubes. If you are using grape tomatoes, cut them into halves.

Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add in the onion and garlic and swirl until fragrant.

Add in zucchini, capsicum and eggplant. Let the vegetables cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in tomatoes, seasoning, white wine and one or two more dashes of olive oil. Stir until all ingredients are well combined, then turn the heat down to low, cover the pan and let vegetables simmer for about half an hour to an hour, stirring occasionally. Serve garnished with basil.

Orange honey chicken

Four to six chicken thighs or two large chicken breasts, diced.
Two large oranges (substitute with two lemons if you prefer lemon honey chicken)
One punnet button mushrooms, chopped
Two garlic cloves, crushed/minced
One small knob of ginger, chopped up fine
Two tablespoons of corn starch Two tablespoons of water
1/4 cup of honey

Slice and juice oranges into a bowl, saving the peel from the fruit. Using a grater, scrape the outer skin of the orange peel to create zest. Add zest to the juice. Add your meat to the zest/juice and combine with hands, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside in fridge for overnight or at least half an hour.

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add garlic and ginger, stirring until fragrant.

Add chicken, orange juice and zest to pan, stirring until meat is browned.

Add mushrooms, stirring to combine. Saute for another 2-3 minutes.

Add in honey, stirring until it has dissolved into the liquid.

Mix corn starch and water in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve corn starch. This is your slurry, which will help thicken the juice to a sauce. Add slurry to pan and let contents continue to cook until sauce has thickened and chicken is cooked through.

Serve immediately on a plate with ratatouille.

Enjoy!

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