.Djuveč, a versatile meat/vegetable casserole, is another one of those Turkish-origin dishes that is popular in Slovenia and throughout the Balkans.
The first time I made it, I used a traditional pork and lamb mix. It was delicious--despite an unfortunate finger injury from too much multi-tasking!
A few months ago, I decided to revisit the dish. I'd discovered a chicken version in one of my vintage Slovenian cookbooks and I wanted to give that a try. I also wondered whether this fairly mild dish could be made without added salt. So I substituted an "herbes de provence" seasoning mix and added some garlic and white wine. For a further flavor boost, I used both parmesan and feta cheese on top. One more little change: I added some yellow and green squash to go along with the eggplant.
The result: Very tasty--and much easier to enjoy without my finger in a splint!
1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into large cubes
1 medium eggplant, cubed
4 small yellow and green squashes, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green pepper, cut in strips
1 red pepper, cut in strips
2 potatoes, sliced
1/3 cup rice, uncooked
small bunch parsley
herbes de provence (or other salt-free seasoning mixture)
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
panko or other bread crumbs
parmesan and feta cheese, for top
Cube and salt the eggplant and set aside in colander to drain. Rinse and pat dry.
Cube chicken and season as desired.
Brown onion and garlic in olive oil. Add eggplant, squash, peppers, seasonings, and a little wine or water. Cover and cook until vegetables are slightly softened. Push vegetables to the side, add more oil if needed, and brown the chicken cubes, adding a little more wine as needed.
Oil a large rectangular glass casserole. Layer half the chicken-vegetable mixture, half the sliced raw potatoes, seasonings, half the rice, and half the parsley. Repeat layers.
Top with sliced tomatoes and bread crumbs. Drizzle with olive oil. Add some wine or other liquid. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until rice is tender. Cover for part of the time. Add liquid if mixture gets too dry. In last 10 minutes, sprinkle with parmesan and crumbled feta. Garnish with more parsley before serving.