Chicken Parmigiana, and a versatile sauce

This dinner was a result of me craving the Chicken Parmigiana I saw over at The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and Markus wanting to make a roasted vegetable sauce that he had seen on a food show on Swedish TV. So, we simply used the vegetable sauce instead of tomato sauce for the chicken.

The roasted vegetable sauce is easy to make, spreads a wonderful smell in your kitchen, and is extremely versatile. You can use other vegetables, and feel free to tamper with the amounts. It can be served on its own with pasta, used as a flavoring in casseroles, stews and paellas, or as a base for soup. You don't need all the sauce for the chicken here, so you will have some left-overs to experiment with. The sauce can be frozen.

Roasted vegetable sauce

3 yellow onions
8 tomatoes
2 red bell peppers (we used the pointy kind)
1 green chili fruit
1 parsnip
4 small carrots
2 large cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Vegetable stock (~3 dl)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 175°C.
Take a large oven-proof dish and prep it with either some oil or with parchment paper.
Halve the onions, but keep the skin on. Place them skin up in the dish.
Halve the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Quarter the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Peel the parsnip and carrots and cut in slices. Halve the chili fruit and remove the seeds. Peel the garlic and give it a little crush by pressing down on the cloves with the side of a knife blade. Place all the vegetables together with the onions in the dish. Sprinkle with some olive oil.
Put in the oven for 1-1½ hours, until the veggies are soft and roasted.
Remove the skin from the onions.
Transfer all the vegetables to a mixer fitted with a blade, or to a large bowl or pot. We used a large pot and an immersion blender. Mix/blend until you have a purée. Add vegetable stock until you have the consistency you want (for the chicken below it should be quite saucy). We used water plus concentrated store-bought stock, but homemade vegetable stock would of course be better.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tasty, but not photogenic...

Chicken Parmigiana
adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

2 chicken breasts
1 dl flour
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 dl freshly grated parmesan cheese
Roasted vegetable sauce (recipe above)

Place each chicken breast in a ziplock bag, or in a normal plastic bag which you tie up very well. You don't want chicken flying about your kitchen. (Yuck.) Anyway, either take one of those meat-hammer thingies, or do as we do and use a rolling pin, and pound the chicken breasts flat. You want then to be ½ centimeter thick or so. Mix the flour, salt and pepper on a plate, and coat the chicken breasts.
Heat the butter and oil in a pan. When it's hot and the butter has melted, you fry the chicken breasts (we had to do them one at the time) until they're nice and golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Clean out your pan (or grab another one). Put in however much of the roasted vegetable sauce you think you'll eat. If we would have had some wine (red or white) at home, I would have added a splash of that at this point, so do that if you're so inclined. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Place the chicken on top of the sauce. Sprinkle the parmesan generously on top of the chicken. Place a lid on the pan and simmer until the cheese is melted and the chicken is heated.
We served this with mashed potatoes (made with more cheese!), but obviously pasta works as well. If you have any fresh herbs (parsley, basil) you can sprinkle that on top.

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