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Monday, October 4, 2010

Chicken Ratatouille Recipe

When I was a kid, one year on my birthday, I requested of my father that he make me one of my favorite dishes- what was called in our house "turkey moussaka". My father was incredulous at my request, as the "moussaka" was just reconstituted leftovers, a way to ensure that food wouldn't go to waste.
Nonetheless, that dish was what I wanted for my celebratory birthday meal, as it was, in my opinion, one of the tastiest meals there was. With my modifications to make it healthier, this still is my favorite way to rejuvenate leftovers as it is quite delicious.
After doing some research, I discovered that this dish was misnamed (moussaka is something very different), so I've renamed it "chicken ratatouille".
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!

Chicken Ratatouille Recipe


Ingredients
1-2 eggplants
1 large onion
2-4 cooked chicken carcases (or 1 turkey carcass)
1-2 cans tomato paste
1-4 cans of water
oregano
basil
garlic

Instructions
1. After making chicken soup from carcasses, there usually is lots of chicken left on the bone. I've seen plenty of people just throw out the carcasses, meat, bones and all. This is a shame, because meat is expensive and you can generally get enough meat from a carcass for a whole meal for at least one adult, often more (depending on who debones the bird) from just one bird's carcass.
The first step in this recipe, then, is to take as much meat as you can off the bird. One turkey carcass will yield enough meat for this recipe, but if you're using chicken, you'll need 2-4 carcasses.
.
A few chicken carcasses that would have been chucked out.
Doesn't look like there is much usable there.
To the right- the bones. To the left- all the good and delicious chicken,
saved from the dumpster, now feeding my family.
2. Peel and cut an onion, however you like. I prefer mine either in rings or in slices, but minced also is fine.

3. Saute your onions in a saucepan until translucent.

4. While the onion is cooking, chop an eggplant into one inch cubes.

5. When the onion is translucent, add the eggplant to the pan and cook on a low heat, mixing occasionally until all the eggplant changes color and is completely cooked.

Eggplant on the fire, raw.
Notice the difference in color between this picture and the last.
This eggplant is cooked and ready for the tomato sauce.
6. Once the eggplant is cooked, add the tomato paste to the pot and an equivalent amount of water. The easiest way to do this is by refilling the tomato paste container with water. Because tomato paste comes in varying sizes and concentrations, you may need to add 2 containers of paste instead of 1 or twice the amount of water as paste instead of equal amounts. Mix well so no clumps of paste remain.

7. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and mix.

8. Season the ratatouille with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and garlic powder to taste.


9. Serve over noodles or rice. Dig in!


Variation: My father used to put sliced hot dogs into this dish which enhanced the flavor; I leave them out for health reasons. You can add them if you so desire.


This is part of my "No Wait- Don't Throw That Out Yet" series.
If you liked this post, you might like my other posts in this series:
Watermelon Seitan Curry
Chicken Scrap Soup
Vegetable Scrap Soup
Salvaging Accidentally Frozen Foods
Spoiled Milk Pancakes


What do you do with your leftover chicken carcasses? Do you take off the meat and use it in a dish? If so, how do you put that meat to use?

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