This recipe wasn’t intended to be blogged about. It was good food-photography practice with all the pretty colours from the variety of vegetables, but the result wasn’t ever intended for sharing. In fact the recipe came about from a mere “fridge-clearing” exercise, hardly inspiring, so when the results were sooo delicious, it was that much more exciting!
This is a perfect mid-winter dinner: comforting, nourishing and healthy. It is simple to prepare and can be modified to include whatever vegetables you may have on hand.
One of the most classic French dishes is cassoulet. It isn’t the healthiest of dishes and I wouldn’t recommend it as a staple but the concept of beans and meat isn’t too nasty at heart. Although this recipe is not a traditional cassoulet in the slightest, it does have a slight resemblance and is bursting with it’s own, less meaty, flavours. It’s also packed full of healthy vegetables and lean protein, making it the perfect comfort food.
4 skinless chicken thighs (on the bone)
2 brown onions
1/2 black radish
1 rutabaga (yellow turnip)
1 round zucchini
1 butternut pumpkin
3C cooked cannellini beans (canned beans would work too)
3 large ripe tomatoes
8 cloves garlic
2tb basil pesto
4 sprigs rosemary
1 large bunch of oregano
3 bay leaves
500ml chicken stock
rice bran oil
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 175°C (fan-forced).
2. Peel the carrots, radish, turnips and pumpkin and cut into 3cm cubes.
3. Place the root vegetables, 2 rosemary sprigs, 6 garlic cloves, 2 rosemary sprigs, 2 oregano sprigs and a pinch of salt in a bowl and toss in 1tb rice bran oil.
4. Wash and similarly cut the eggplant and zucchini into 3cm cubes.
5. In a separate bowl, toss the eggplant and zucchini with the 2 remaining garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs, 2 oregano sprigs, a pinch of salt and 1tb rice bran oil.
6. Pour the vegetables onto 2 baking trays lined with grease-proof paper (1 tray for the eggplant and zucchini, 1 tray for the root vegetables) and bake for about 20mins (or until golden roasted). The eggplant and zucchini may roast quicker. You may also need to swap the trays from the top to bottom shelves of the oven to ensure even baking. Once cooked, squeeze garlic cloves out of their skins.
7. Slice the onions and saute in a large pot with 1tb rice bran oil and pesto adding a splash of water every so often until softened. Once caramalised, allow them to gain some colour / smokey flavour and immediately add water and remove from pot.
8. Wash chicken thighs season with salt and pepper.
9. Seal chicken thighs in the onion/pesto juices.
10. Meanwhile, wash and dice the tomatoes.
11. Add the onions, squeezed garlic, chicken stock, remaining oregano, bay leaves, cannellini beans and diced tomatoes. Place lid on pot and simmer for 20mins. Add the roasted vegetables and simmer for a further 20mins (or until chicken falls off the bone). Serve and enjoy!!