Miso-Smothered Chicken & Eggplant Bake

with bourbon

Do you have a solid morning routine or are you still in 16-year old mode where you scramble and rush each morning to get out the door? Good, I’m glad it’s not just me. Kramer and I seem to be at the greatest odds with not only each other, but also the world, most mornings. We keep trying to get in the shower at different times, or I’ll make coffee and eat a little earlier than I normally would to see if that helps, but I still seem to be frantically throwing my stuff into my purse at t-minus 30 seconds to when I need to go and catch the train. Sidenote: eating is key to surviving a morning commute in New York. I don’t know how people deal with the swarms of jackasses bumping into each other or pushing people over in order to get on the train without a little fuel in your stomach. You need the energy to deal with the crazy. Anyway, I think that the small living space must have something to do with it. Kramer and I bump into each other in the kitchen while fixing up our coffees, or get each other’s way in our bedroom as we try to grab clothes out of the closet or a drawer. I suppose we are still getting into the swing of things. At my old job, I had to be in the office so insanely early that often Kramer would just be waking up, or still in bed, when I was heading out. Now I leave only 30 minutes before he does, so we are still struggling to find something that works. We’ll figure it out soon! Ah, yes, martial bliss. You, too, will one day enjoy these fun little first world problems along the journey for the perfect domestic partnership. Good luck!

Miso-Smothered Chicken & Eggplant BakeEnjoying a negroni, about to boil our wontons.
You may remember that a few months ago, Diana Kuan and I got together to make a video showing the process of folding wontons at home. It was a lot of fun, especially for me because Diana is a pro and I got to learn something new. You can check out the video here. Anyway, I recently decided to put these mad wonton skills to use with my friends Maitri and Molli last week while poor Kramer toiled away in class. We whipped up some negronis, which has replaced my beloved old fashioned as my winter drink of choice thanks to my buddy Marian, and got to folding. We must have made at least 50 or 60 wontons and devoured all but the few I saved for Kramer. Standing, chatting and folding is definitely therapeutic and the reward is certainly worth the effort. I highly recommend hosting your own wonton making party, too!

Miso-Smothered Chicken & Eggplant Bake

Speaking of Asian flavors, I recently pulled out one of my favorite cookbooks, Smoke and Pickles, and was immediately drawn to a recipe for miso-smothered chicken. I have a giant container of miso in the fridge and am always looking for something new to do with it, so this was just what I needed. In the book, Edward Lee cooks the whole thing in a pan, but I had a whole bird to work with, so I decided to turn this into a bake of sorts and transfer it to the oven after crisping up the chicken in a pan. Lee also used mushrooms, which honestly I adore and would have preferred to use, but I didn’t have them. Instead, I opted for another similarly textured vegetable: eggplant. I found some adorable little fairy eggplants at the Union Square Greenmarket on my way to work one morning, so I threw them in with the chicken, alongside shallots and finely minced miniature bell peppers. More importantly, though, this recipe has a healthy dose of bourbon for a deep, rich flavor alongside the savory miso broth. There’s a lot going on in this dish, but it all comes together to make a warming autumn meal. We actually didn’t even eat this for dinner. I cooked it up, separated it into containers, and then we had it for lunch over the next few days. It worked out perfectly and was a great way to change up the usual salad/sandwich/soup routine that we’re usually in. If you’ve unfamiliar with cooking with miso at home, this is an excellent way to get acquainted!

Miso-Smothered Chicken & Eggplant BakeKramer and me at the bar.
Miso-Smothered Chicken & Eggplant BakeMaitri with a negroni and our wontons, our glorious spread for dinner that night, and the Twix cookies I made for my office happy hour last week.

Miso-Smothered Chicken & Eggplant BakeAlright, to – mix up your flour, dredge and lightly fry your chicken, and chop your veggies.

Miso-Smothered Chicken & Eggplant BakeDon’t forget the bourbon, guys. Have a little yourself, it’s okay.

Miso-Smothered Chicken & Eggplant BakeLook at those beautiful, crispy pieces of chicken.

Miso-Smothered Chicken & Eggplant BakePour your cookies veggies and sauce, miso included, over the top, and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Miso-Smothered Chicken & Eggplant BakeServe warm, over rice or on its own.

Miso-Smothered Chicken & Eggplant Bake

Miso-Smothered Chicken Bake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Rich, buttery roasted chicken smothered in miso with eggplant, peppers and shallots.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 small whole chicken (3-4 pounds), broken down (or get a fryer chicken)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 large eggplant or 6 fairy eggplants, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • rice, for serving (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. In a shallow dish, such as a pie tin, mix together the flour, salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Dip the chicken in the flour mixture, shake off the excess, and set aside until all of the pieces are coated.
  2. Heat your oil in a heavy bottomed pot or pan over medium-high heat, then add the chicken pieces, skin side down, and cook on each side for 5 minutes or so, until golden and crisp. Place the chicken onto a paper towel lined plate and continue working until you've cooked all of the chicken.
  3. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of oil from the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and add in your shallots, bell peppers and eggplant. Cook until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add in the bourbon and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Whisk together the chicken stock, orange juice, soy sauce and miso paste. Arrange your chicken pieces in a 9x13 casserole dish, and pour your eggplant, shallot and bell pepper mixture over the chicken. Pour the chicken stock mixture over all of that. Roast the chicken in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and lightly browned. Serve with rice or on its own. This dish will keep well for up to 4 days in the fridge, and I would know! We ate it for lunch all week.


7 Responses

  1. I’m always searching for new ways to use miso, and this looks awesome!

  2. Lovely and unexpected use of miso!

  3. John in Palm Springs says:

    Sidney, I have followed your blog for years and have had great results with most of your dishes, but this one was a disaster. I don’t think you made this, I think you found it somewhere else and tried to pass it off as your own. I followed you directions to a tee, but it came out as a mess of flavorless chicken and an bunch of mushy vegetables. Six pounds of chicken went into the trash tonight. Shame on you, I always expected the best, you gave us crap.

    • Sydney says:

      Hi John – as stated, this is from Edward Lee’s Smoke & Pickles cookbook. I’m sorry that you didn’t like it! I promise you, we ate this and really enjoyed it. I’m sorry that you thought it was flavorless. I will say that 6 pounds is a huge chicken and mine was only about 3-4 pounds, and I’ve clarified that in the recipe. I hope that you’ll come back for more recipes – not everything is necessarily to everyone’s taste and I do apologize that you felt that it was flavorless. Feel free to message me with what you thought the major flaws in the recipe were and maybe I can figure out what went wrong!

    • kara says:

      Seriously, @John? That level of insult is ridiculous and rude. “I don’t think you made it – I think you found it and tried to pass it off as your own”? So basically because you didn’t like the recipe or it didn’t work out for you, you accused her of THEFT.

      You, sir, are a jerk of the highest order. If you don’t like a recipe or it doesn’t work for you then say so, but don’t accuse and shame someone because of YOUR issues.

  4. Lynna says:

    I adore all sorts of Asian inspired dishes, including miso! I have yet to cook chicken (or anything really), but I`m saving this for when I do learn how to! Also, Twix cookies sound delicious. I`m jealous of your coworkers.

  5. Laura in Vancouver says:

    Super surprised to see “John from Palm Springs”‘s ridiculous comment. I made this the night you posted it and it was outstanding. I also followed the directions. I am making it again tonight for relatives who are in town visiting. It will be a regular in my repertoire.
    John – I don’t think you are from Palm Springs. I have met people from there and they are way nicer than you. I think you live somewhere else and are trying to pretend you are from Palm Springs. I think the problem with your ruined chicken dish was internal to your kitchen.

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