Chicken and aubergine stew with cavolo nero recipe

This stew is cooked like an all-in-one roast, allowing the juices to concentrate and the chicken to turn nice and golden. The dressing is a favourite – I like making lots for dipping cooked green beans and crudités into in the days after.

chicken and aubergine stew
Ellis Parrinder

SERVES 4

Approx 3 1⁄2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1kg-1.2kg free-range chicken thighs (skin-on and bone-in)
2 aubergines (approx 500g), ends removed, quartered lengthways and thickly sliced
1 red onion, peeled, halved and sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 level tbsp oregano or marjoram leaves
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
150ml white wine
200g cavolo nero, leaves removed from stalk and thickly sliced

PEANUT DRESSING
50g smooth or crunchy peanut butter
1 tbsp lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat a large cast-iron casserole with half a tablespoon of the oil over a medium heat for several minutes. Season the chicken thighs and brown on all sides, in batches if necessary, then transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add another couple of tablespoons of oil to the pan, add the aubergines and stir to lightly coat with the oil, season and fry for 5-7 minutes until translucent and lightly coloured, stirring occasionally (ignoring their plea for more oil!). Add the aubergine to the bowl with the chicken.
  3. Turn the heat down a little, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the onion for a few minutes until golden, stirring in the garlic, oregano and cumin at the end. Stir in the cherry tomatoes, then add the wine and some seasoning. Stir the chicken and aubergine into the veg, placing the chicken skin-side up. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, without covering.
  4. Meanwhile, blend the peanut butter with the lemon juice and a tablespoon of water in a small bowl, then add another tablespoon or two of water to achieve a thick pouring sauce and season with salt.
  5. Towards the end of this time, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the cavolo nero for 4 minutes or until just tender. Drain using a sieve and press out the excess liquid. Serve the chicken stew with the greens on the side, drizzling them with the dressing.