This a pretty standard way to prepare chicken for a BBQ in the summer, but what you may not realise is that it works extremely well using one of those cast iron griddles in the oven. The pairing of Aubergine (eggplant if you are American) and Chicken helps to give you that smokey barbecued flavour. It’s very healthy and very easy to make.
Yoghurt Marinade Chicken with Griddled Aubergine (quantities serve 2)
2 skinned chicken breasts or 4 thighs
For the marinade
2 tablespoons of Greek Yoghurt (low fat is fine)
1 dessert spoon of cumin seeds
1 dessert spoon of smoked paprika
3 cloves of garlic
1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely
The juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon of Greek Yoghurt (low fat is fine)
1 dessertspoon of Za-atar
1 garlic clove
The juice of half a lemon
2 dessertspoons of olive oil
Flat leaved parsley to serve
To prepare the chicken
Take the cumin seeds and toast them on a dry cast iron skillet till they are slightly darkened and start to pop. It’s very easy to burn them, so watch and stir while you do this.
Blitz the cumin seeds in a spice mill or use a pestle and mortar to get a fine powder
Now put all the ingredients except the chicken into a food processor and blitz
Coat the chicken well with the marinade and put in the fridge overnight.
Heat your oven to 180c
Slice the aubergine into thickish rounds (about 1cm thick)
Brush a griddle with olive oil and heat in the oven for about 5 minutes
Brush both sides of the aubergine slices with olive oil and then sprinkle over the Za-atar
Take the chicken out of the marinade, leaving a reasonably thick coating of yoghurt to help stop the meat from drying out.
Place chicken and aubergine slices on the griddle and bake in the oven for 15 minutes on one side before turning and cooking on the other side for 10 minutes.
While the meat is cooking make up the yoghurt sauce with the remaining tablespoon of yoghurt, the garlic clove crushed in a little salt, the lemon juice and a dessert spoon of olive oil.
This works well with a simple green salad. Just dollop a little sauce on the top of each hot aubergine slice and serve with the chicken
If you want a spicier version, you can add half a chopped green chilli to the marinade for the chicken.
This is a great recipe for Winter because it is based on ingredients that are easily available all the year round and unlike a lot of winter dishes, it’s very very low calorie – perfect for those new year resolutions! I love making it because it reminds me of summer barbecues. Although you cook the chicken in the oven, the marinade gives the mix a real taste of outdoors. So, it cheers me up AND is nice and healthy. When it gets to summer, you can make the same dish and just cook it all outdoors!