When I received a last minute call from my Dad last night seeing if he and his other half could join us for dinner, I knew the meal I was planning on making wouldn’t quite satiate five people without some major tweaks. As dinner was already set to be what I like to call a Pantry Meal of the Week (aka Amanda doesn’t feel like grocery shopping) what I had planned for dinner was already quite the compilation of miscellaneous food. I decided to serve everything on top of a heaping portion of brown rice to stretch out my ingredients and make sure that everyone was full and satisfied when they were done stuffing their faces.
This recipe consists of a one pot dish with your protein of choice on top. I chose to use the Red Snapper I had taking up space in my freezer, but you can substitute the fish for some grilled chicken or even a dollop of greek yogurt. For the vegetable portion of the dish, feel free to toss in as many random veggies that you have to get rid of in your fridge. As long as you keep the ingredients in relatively similar proportions and season everything well, you really can’t go wrong with this dish.
for the veggies:
- 2 large eggplants
- 1/2 an onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 32 oz whole peeled tomatoes (basically two medium cans)
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 + 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 cups chopped assortment of fridge veggies:
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- salt + pepper to taste
- herbs for garnish
for the protein:
- 4 snapper filets or 3 chicken breasts
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- salt + pepper to taste
for the carbs:
- 2 cups brown rice
Kitchen Tools: large stock pot or dutch oven, sauté pan, wooden spoon, spatula
Dice your onion and set it aside in a small bowl. Chop remaining veggies + garlic and place in a separate bowl. Mix together your protein spices and season your fish/chicken. For fish just season the skin side. Set on plate and place in fridge until ready to cook.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in your stock pot or dutch oven on medium heat. Sauté onions for about 5-7 minutes until translucent but not browned. Add in the rest of the veggies and stir to combine. Plop in your butter and mix it around as it melts. Toss in all the spices and stir with your wooden spoon to evenly coat all the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
Continue to cook the vegetable mixture on medium heat for about 10 minutes until some of them begin to brown and/or stick to the pan. Deglaze the pan by pouring in your red wine and scrape away any stuck pieces with your wooden spoon. Remove whole peeled tomatoes from can and squish with your hands before dropping them in your pot. (You can alternatively chop them on a cutting board like a civilized human, but where’s the fun in that?) Pour in the liquid from the tomato cans and add the chicken/vegetable stock.
Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes so that nothing sticks to the bottom and burns. After most of the liquid has cooked off, lower the heat to a simmer and place the lid on the pot. While your veggies are keeping warm, you have time to cook your protein and rice.
Cook rice according to package directions. While rice is cooking, heat the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil in your sauté pan on medium heat to cook your protein of choice.
for fish option:
Place filets skin side down onto heated oil. Let cook for 4-5 minutes until edges become opaque and fish removes easily from the pan without sticking. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes until fish is opaque through out. Depending on the size of your pan you may want to work in batches.
for the chicken option:
Season all sides of the chicken breasts and place in sauté pan. Cook for 10-12 minutes per side until the chicken is opaque through out and the juices run clear. You can also check for an internal temperature of 165*F.
Spoon a good portion of rice into each bowl and ladle your veggie braise over it. Place the protein on top and garnish with fresh herbs if you have them lying around. I had some preserved lemon I found in my fridge so I opted for that. For the chicken I recommend slicing each breast widthwise before serving for easy eating.