Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas

November 4, 2016

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I’ve got a delicious spicy dish for you today that will definitely warm you up this Fall…Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas. Oh my goodness! It is just absolutely delicious with that golden crispy skinned chicken and those devilish little harissa chickpeas that pack quite a punch! For folks unfamiliar with harissa, it is a spicy North African Red Chili Paste. It is available at most large grocery stores. You can sometimes find it in a can in the ethnic food section or occasionally you will find in fresh in the refrigerated section. I have also provided you with a link below if you wish to buy it online. I will warn you though that not all harissas are created equal. Some are much spicier than others, so although this recipe calls for 1/4 cup, you should definitely taste the harissa you are working with first and decide how much to add depending its spice level and your sensitivity. We love spicy in this household so we just shoveled it in!

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Besides being wonderfully flavorful, this dish is also great because you only need dirty one dish to make it. You want to use a large oven-proof skillet. My 12″ le creuset skillet was just perfect. Serve this dish over couscous with a little tzatziki or other yogurt sauce on the side to help cool the burn. Just the thing to warm you up as the temperatures cool down this Fall!

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Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Bon Appetit

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup harissa paste
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Tzatziki Sauce, for serving (Optional but can help cool the burn if your harissa is very spicy!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from pan. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until beginning to darken, about 1 minute. Add chickpeas, harissa, and broth; bring to a simmer.

Nestle chicken, skin side up, in chickpeas; transfer skillet to oven. Roast until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes (until it reaches 165 °F with meat thermometer). Top with cilantro and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

Enjoy!

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas:

Le Creuset Iron Handle Skillet

Harissa


Chickpea, Cremini Mushroom & Farro Soup

February 24, 2015

 

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After leaving the beautiful Cinque Terre, we headed south to explore Tuscany. And no dish better represents  Tuscany than this warming peasant-style soup of Chickpeas, Cremini Mushrooms & Farro. All of the ingredients featured in this soup can be found in abundance in the region. And besides evoking images of that beautiful Tuscan landscape, this soup is actually quite good for you. It is a vegetarian dish, though I suppose you could add a bit of pancetta or sausage if you really needed to satisfy the carnivore within you. It also has the ancient grain Farro in it, which has recently been stealing some of the limelight away from Quinoa as the next big supergrain that everyone should be eating. Though that doesn’t mean it has just been discovered.  Farro has been cultivated and used in Italian cooking for centuries. It supposedly fed the Roman legions at one time. A great source of protein and fiber, it has satisfyingly chewy texture and a nutty taste. It is a wheat grain, so unlike Quinoa, it is not gluten-free. Those little devils are definitely in there.

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I first tasted the soup that inspired this recipe in the small town of Chiusi, Italy. The husband and I were very interested in seeing some Etruscan tombs and artifacts and little Chiusi was one of the greatest city-states of the Etruscan league back in the day in the 7th century BC. Today the town has one of the finest collections of Etruscan archaeological findings in Italy housed in The Museo Archeologico Nazionale. The museum was fascinating, chock full of beautifully carved sarcophagi, expertly crafted jewelry, as well as stunning art and pottery.

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intricate mosaic of hunting scene

intricate mosaic of hunting scene

The most unusual, odd and somewhat creepy thing we saw there were these Canopic jars which have lids that were modeled as a portrait of the dead person held within.

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And although we thoroughly enjoyed our museum visit, we were just itching to head out to the outskirts of the town and go underground to explore some actual Etruscan tombs. There are over 400 of these tombs in the area. Although Etruscan tombs varied according to local custom, generally the rich were buried in stone sarcophagi which were placed in chamber tombs the walls of which were often decorated with brightly painted frescos. We toured the Tomba della Scimmia (Tomb of the Monkey) so named because there is a monkey portrayed in one of the frescos, not because one is interred there, The Tomba della Pellegrina (Tomb of the Pilgrim) and La Tomba de Leone, which date from around 470 BC.

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Fresco on wall in Monkey Tomb

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The Monkey himself, peeking out from behind some sort of plant.

So, as you can see, we were pretty physically active on this holiday, hiking up and down the Cinque Terre hillsides and venturing underground to explore tombs. We definitely enjoy those things, but we are also way into relaxing and being pampered. And that is just what we did at what we found to be the best hotel at which we have ever stayed, La Bandita Townhouse. This absolute gem is located in the center of historic Pienza. The charming hill town of Pienza is situated in the heart of Tuscany, nestled between Montepulciano and Montalcino. The town had been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and overlooks the Val d’Orcia, which boasts some of the most often photographed, unblemished landscapes that exist.

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Pienza city walls

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La Bandita Townhouse is a 500-year-old palazzo and convent, lovingly renovated by John Voigtmann, a retired record company executive. From the outside it is indistinguishable from its neighboring Renaissance age buildings. It is when you step inside the 12 room luxury boutique hotel that the magic begins. All of the nun’s cells have been replaced with an expert blend of contemporary furnishings accented by the old world charm of exposed stone walls and rustic ceiling beams.

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All of the light-filled rooms boast fabulous views of the charming town

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The view from our room out into a private medieval walled garden.

or the gorgeous surrounding countryside.

Crazy Tuscan Tree

Crazy Tuscan Tree

But as I’m sure you all know, design – stunning though it may be –  isn’t enough to make a great hotel experience. Customer service makes all the difference in the world and the folks at La Bandita Townhouse have perfected it. They were wonderful from the very first email when I was planning the trip, offering information on the surrounding area, restaurants, shops, towns, you name it, throughout our entire stay right up to the moment we reluctantly checked-out. And whenever we needed anything, which wasn’t often because they had obviously put a lot of thought into the layout of the rooms and common areas – and everything we needed, for the most part, was often to be found in the first place we looked for it, the attentive hotel staff was right there to help in any way that they could. And although Pienza is certainly a captivating town, La Bandita Townhouse is a destination all within itself. I can’t wait to visit again!

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Guest lounge and honor bar serves champagne every evening for happy hour.

 

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Not only was the hotel top-notch, but they also have a excellent restaurant as well which serves traditional Italian food but with a modern twist.

Visiting a winery in Tuscany and trying some of the local Brunello was high up on our to do list as well. The folks at La Bandita Townhouse were happy to assist us and quickly booked a tour and tasting for us at one of Montalcino’s premiere wine estates Ciacci Piccolomini D’Aragona. The estate, dating from the 17th Century and located just outside the medieval village of Castenuovo dell’Abate, was beautiful. The tour started with the history of the winery, peppered with some intriguing inheritance scandals, moved on to the production of the wine and concluded in their new modern tasting room. We sampled three of their wines, the 2012 Rosso di Montalcino, the 2011 Montecucco Sangiovese and the 2009 Brunello di Montalcino, as well as their olive oil and honey which were all excellent.

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On the way back to the hotel we stopped to visit the 8th Century Abbey Sant’Antimo, a former Benedictine Monastery. This abbey is richly decorated and  functions today as a Cistercian house.

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Love these gargoyles!

 

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Mystery creature…looks pretty scary!

 

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Sneak peek of one of the elusive monks in residence.

Well, I’m sure I’ve surpassed your vacation picture tolerance level at this point. So I’ll leave off for today. Stay tuned next time to hear about our stay in an 11th Century castle’s gate keepers lodgings, our visit to Siena and Florence and to get a great recipe for Wild Boar Ragu and homemade Pici pasta. Until then, if your home base is anything like good old Virginia, gripped by this relentless Winter, you’re probably still shivering in your boots. I hope you will make up a big pot of this hearty Chickpea, Cremini Mushroom & Farro soup to warm yourself and enjoy it with some toasted crusty bread and a bottle (or two….) of wine.

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Chickpea, Cremini Mushroom & Farro Soup

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Williams Sonoma

Ingredients:

For the Soup:

  • 1 1/2 cups (9 1/2 oz./295 g) dried chickpeas, picked over and
    rinsed
  • 8 cups (64 fl. oz./2 l) cold water
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) warm water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) vegetable broth or water
  • 1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) pearled farro (if you can’t find pearled, you will need to soak the farro overnight.)

For the Mushrooms:

  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) fresh cremini mushrooms, (can substitute porcini mushrooms) brushed
    clean
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. unsalted butter

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Drizzling

Smoked Paprika for Garnish

Directions:

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl with water to cover and soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Drain the chickpeas, rinse well and place in a large saucepan. Add the cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the chickpeas are tender, about 2 hours.

In a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and rosemary sprig and sauté until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve the tomato paste in the warm water and add to the pot. Stir in the chickpeas and their cooking liquid, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes. Add the broth, return to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the flavors have blended, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Discard the rosemary sprig.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender and return it to the pot. Alternatively, process the soup in the pot with an immersion blender. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Add the farro and cook until tender yet still slightly chewy, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the mushrooms: Cut away the tips of the mushroom stems and thinly slice the mushrooms lengthwise. In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the wine and thyme sprig and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook, stirring often, until the mushroom juices have evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the thyme sprig. Stir in the butter.

Stir the mushrooms into the soup. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with a grinding of smoked paprika.

Enjoy!

Chickpea, Cremini & Farro Soup brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs & Smashed Chickpea Salad

August 22, 2014

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Hold everything! Stop what you are doing and lookie here!!! I think this might be my favourite new recipe that I’ve made this summer. Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs & Smashed Chickpea Salad. It is just perfection on a hot and steamy summer’s evening, though we loved this so much I think it will continue to appear on our dinner table well into the Fall and Winter. This meal is fresh and light yet also hearty and filling at the same time. The meatballs are spicy and tender and that chickpea salad is amazing. So flavorful, zesty and served refreshingly chilled.

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I found this recipe in Deb Perlman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It was just brilliant. As usual, she knocked it out of the park. If you don’t have this cookbook yet, you simply must go out and get it tonight. I’m serious. It is without a doubt a kitchen essential! And while you’re shopping for the cookbook, make sure you pick up some new spices as well. I love to go spice shopping and can’t seem to make it out of a Penzey’s store without laying down some serious bucks. That place should have some sort of flashing cautionary lights. I totally lose control there. But back to the recipe at hand…The two spices that are used in this recipe, but might not be hanging out in your spice rack at home are Aleppo Pepper and Ground Sumac. Both are often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Aleppo pepper is rated moderately hot on the pepper scale and imparts a tart, ancho chile like flavour. Ground Sumac is made from the ground berries of the sumac bush and adds a tangy, lemony zing to foods.

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The husband loves meatballs! He loves the cocktail variety, the ones on top of spaghetti, and the ones stuffed into subs. I mentioned this before when I shared a recipe with you for Konigsberger Klopse (German Meatballs). So I’m always on the lookout for a good meatball recipe. He was completely over the moon with this one. As I’m sure you will be when you taste it. So what are you waiting for, get cooking!

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Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs & Smashed Chickpea Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perlman

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb (455 grams) ground turkey
  • 2/3 cup (40 grams) fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons (15 grams) sesame seeds, toasted
  • olive oil to coat pan

For the Chickpea Salad:

  • 1 3/4 cups (440 grams) cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Handful of pitted, halved, and very thinly sliced green olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sumac, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (we do like our spice!)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (Deb uses parsley, but we love cilantro, so…)
  • 2 Tablespoon (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • Olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 ° F. Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl with a fork, breaking up the clumps of meat until ingredients are well combined. Form the turkey mixture into golf-ball sized meatballs. Arrange them on a parchment paper lined baking tray.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof sautè pan. Brown the meatballs in batches, taking care not to crowd the pan. Transfer the meatballs to a paper-towel lined tray and continue cooking until all of the meatballs have been browned.

Discard the oil and wipe all but a thin layer from the pan. Return all of the meatballs to the pan and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake until a thermometer reads and internal temperature of 160 to 165°, or about 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare chickpea salad. Mix all of the ingredients with the exception of the olive oil in a medium-sized bowl. Very lightly smash the chickpea mixture with the back of a fork or a potato masher. Continue to smash the chickpeas until you reach a consistency somewhere between hummus and a coarse chop. Dress the chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil and stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve meatballs with the chickpea salad.

Enjoy!

Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs & Smashed Chickpea Salad brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 


Smoky Lemon & Cilantro Chickpea Crostini

July 31, 2011

Mmmm….We love chickpeas around here and crostini now that I think about it. Not to mention wine…which goes so well with this appetizer. So I was quite happy to find this recipe on The Yellow House site. For those of you who have not found this beautiful blog, you absolutely must pay them a visit. It is just gorgeous! The Yellow House folks found this recipe on the Robert Sinskey Vineyards site (another beautiful site). I knew I had to make it right away and luckily had all the ingredients I needed ready to go. I did alter the original recipe somewhat by adding in some lovely fresh cilantro. I really like the fresh taste of cilantro and it paired very well with this dish. I do wish that I had had some crusty bread to toast into crostini, but alas, I did not, so we settled for store-bought crostini toasts, which were also quite good. We poured a couple of glasses of wine, and perhaps a few more after that… 🙂 and enjoyed these fantastic little nibbles. Give them a try when you plan to open your next bottle of wine, you won’t be disappointed.

Smoky Lemon & Cilantro Chickpea Crostini

Recipe slightly adapted from The Yellow House who found it at Robert Sinskey Vineyards

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15.5 oz) of chickpeas-drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika plus more to sprinkle over crostini once assembled with chickpea dip
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh chives for garnish
  • 1 loaf of crusty bread or package or crostini crackers

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients, minus the olive oil, in the bowl of a food processor, process until smooth. Run the processor while slowly adding the olive oil to emulsify. Turn out into a bowl and season to taste with salt. Let sit for 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and adjust salt if necessary, about 30 minutes before serving.

Spread dip on any crostini cracker of your choice, or toast slices of crusty bread and rub them with the cut side of a garlic clove before topping with chickpea dip. Sprinkle crostini with smoked paprika and chives.


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