Ok, this one contains dairy. If you can’t handle it, please just look away now instead of tempting yourself! Also, please accept my apologies in advance. I have been receiving requests for recipes involving cheese lately, and I finally let a personal craving push me over the recipe-creating edge. The result is a ridiculously good complete meal that worked out (and looked) much better than I expected. Please keep in mind that I stacked my dish neatly in my slow cooker, then strained some of the excess fat, and then let the crock cool on the stovetop for an hour before removing the contents with 2 spatulas and surgeon-like precision. The only downside to this dish is that you need to have at least an hour ahead of time to soak your eggplant slices and then let them dry out for a bit. This process is a must as it helps remove some of the bitterness from the eggplant. I only soaked mine for about an hour, and let between some paper towels for half an hour tops, and everything worked out fine. Just don’t let me Italian grandparents know that I cut some corners!
What you need:
- 1 medium eggplant (about 1.5 pounds), sliced about 1/4 thick, soaked and dried.
- 1 pound of thinly sliced chicken breast, pounded flat with a meat mallet.
- 3 cups of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce.
- 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced.
- 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning.
- 1/2 pound of thinly sliced pepperoni.
- 1 cup of black olives, sliced.
- 1/2 cup to a cup of Parmesan cheese, grated.
- 1/2 cup to a cup of Mozzarella cheese, grated.
- sea salt as needed.
- Italian parsley for garnish.
Kitchen tools needed:
- Mandoline slicer or thin knife (for slicing eggplant).
- Large bowl for soaking eggplant.
- Colander or strainer for draining eggplant.
- Paper towels or a clean kitchen towel for drying the eggplant.
- Meat mallet for pounding out your chicken.
- 6-quart slow cooker.
How you make it:
- Slice your eggplant and place slices into a large bowl of water. Allow to soak for at least an hour.
- Strain your eggplant, sprinkle with sea salt and place between paper or cloth towels to remove excess moisture. Let sit for a half hour.
- Mix your minced garlic and Italian seasoning into your tomato sauce.
- Add your tbsp of olive oil to you slow cooker, then add a few large spoons of tomato sauce, enough to coat the bottom of your slow cooker once stirred around.
- Use a meat mallet to pound your chicken breasts as thin as you can. Ideally they should be as thin or thinner than your eggplant slices. Set them aside.
- Start layering in this order starting from the bottom. Sauce, eggplant, parmesan cheese, chicken, sauce, mozzarella cheese, black olives, pepperoni, more cheese.
- Repeat until ingredients are used up, you should have about 2 chicken layers, 3 tops. Try to set aside some sauce / cheese / olives / pepperoni for the top.
- Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours.
- Once finished cooking, remove ceramic crock and place on your stovetop to let it cool with the lid cracked.
- Drain excess fat with a turkey baster.
- Remove with a pair of spatulas if you want to get the beast out in one piece like I did!