I love herbs and spices and unsurprisingly one of my favourite places is my local spice shop. A recent visit resulted in a number of new acquisitions: Roasted Wattleseed, Chipotle Chilli and the rather tasty focus of this recipe; Bush Tomato.
“Bush Tomato” refers to plants of the genus Solanum (nightshades) found native in arid parts of Australia – the specific type I purchased is Solanum centrale. In the recipe below I reckon it has a flavour reminiscent of peanut satay (Wikipedia describes the taste as tamarillo and caramel).
- 2-3 dessert spoons ground Bush Tomato
- 1-2 tsp chilli flakes (or more if you like it hot)
- ~ 800g organic chicken thighs (I used 8 skinless and boneless thighs)
- ~ 1/4 cup macadamia oil
- 1 dessert spoon apple cider vinegar (ACV)
- 1-2 dessert spoons pink salt flakes
- 1 bunch kale or black cabbage thinly sliced
- Optional: 1 dessert spoon of seaweed gomasio, chia, hemp seeds or toasted sesame (or even a little of each)
Place chicken thighs in glass or other non-reactive dish. Sprinkle ground Bush Tomato, chilli and salt over chicken – I generally don’t measure the spice, I just use enough so that the chicken has a layer of Bush Tomato and a few flakes of chilli (more if you like it hot) and salt on each surface. Add macadamia oil and ACV and mix to ensure even coverage over the chicken (just enough to lightly coat the chicken, it doesn’t need to bathe in it).
Cover and allow to marinate for at least an hour, ideally overnight. If using within 60-90 mins, I usually leave it on the bench so the chicken is at room temp before I cook it. If using it later than this, marinate in the refrigerator.
As my bbq was out of gas, I had to use the stove top. See this post for bbq cooking times. If you have a very large fry pan (which I do) you can cook it all at once, otherwise, cook in batches.
Preheat the fry pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp of ghee or macadamia oil to the pan, then add the chicken (skin side first if your thighs have skin). Cook for 10 minutes each side. The chicken should look golden and pull apart easily once cooked.
Remove chicken from the pan, leaving the juices and any crusty spices in the bottom of the pan. Allow the meat to rest in a warm place (I usually just put mine into a storage container as I don’t mind eating my chicken cool and most of it will be stored for later anyway – see background of picture above).
Lower the heat to medium and cook the kale in the pan juices + spices, adding a little ground salt if desired (I like to salt everything). My kale was freshly washed, so the residual water on the kale helped to break down the spice crust at the bottom of the pan. If your crust isn’t loosening up/forming a paste, add a little water to the pan (one or two dessert spoons at a time). The kale should end up nicely coated in oil and tomato bits – moist but not wet. Add the seeds if using (I used 1 dessert spoon of seaweed gomasio) and mix.
Serve the Bush Tomato Chicken + Kale together. Enjoy!