This chicken, aubergine and courgette stew recipe is one of my favourites. I hated aubergines when I was a child and refused to touch any dish with aubergines in it. I think only when I was fourteen or fifteen I finally started to eat aubergines and fell so in love with the flavour and silky texture of well-cooked aubergines that the rich stew of lamb and aubergines my mum made (khoresht-e bademjun) became my favourite dish. This is a very easy and quick chicken version of that fragrant, comforting stew.
Stews (khoresht/khoresh/ghalyeh) are the equivalent of curries in Persian cuisine. They are usually made with lamb, beef, chicken, prawns or fish and vegetables or herbs. Very few are spicy at all.
Stews are normally eaten with plain rice. My quick chicken, aubergine and courgette stew is very nice with rice but lovely with crusty bread to dip in the sauce too.
Khoresht-e bademjun is made with aubergines cut into halves lengthwise. The halves are fried long and slow until they are completely cooked through. Oh, and the classic version is made with lamb. It takes about three hours to do everything properly. By the way, courgettes are sometimes added to that stew but there is also one made in quite a similar way only with courgettes. You can replace one with the other in this easier version if you wish.
I usually don’t have the luxury of spending three hours to make a meal so I cut the vegetables into rounds and score the chicken breasts like in the picture to reduce the cooking time. It takes about an hour to put the dinner on the table this way. While the stew is cooking there will be time to set the table and make the rice too. It’s not the same but still good, I think.
Apart from reducing cooking time using chicken breasts rather than thighs and legs helps cut a few calories too. You can use thighs if you prefer, or even a mixture. I recommend using smaller Asian aubergines if you can find them in your local shops. They are quite tastier than the large ones found in supermarkets.
This dish can be prepared ahead and reheated in the same pan (or in the oven) when needed so it’s a good one for entertaining. It will taste even better after a few hours!
To serve four people you need the following ingredients: