Summer Speed, and Chicken with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Paprika
I’m in a funk. A not-wanting-to-cook funk, and the heat and humidity ain’t helping. This dinner was really, really good, full of big bold flavors that made heavenly sandwiches the next day. But I can’t say when I will next turn on the oven. Why bother undoing the hard work of the air conditioner? And then, sushi is only a phone call away, and I could stay right here, ensconced on the couch, watching reruns of 90210.
I think what I have on my hands is a desire to belly-flop right into the beginning of summer and do as little as possible. That is what I did on the first days of real summer oh-so many years ago (I would give anything for three months off again!), when I would put my feet up on the ottoman and watch tv in the air-conditioning for days, breaking only for bike rides to secure more iced coffee. Eventually, exhausted from sheer boredom and over-acquainted with the airings of News Radio, I would stumble lazy-eyed out into the sunshine and fall into the rhythms of summer life: swimming, junking, cocktails.
Soon enough you’ll be able to find me walking up and down the aisles of the farmer’s markets, oohing and ahhing at the crates of potatoes as if they were baby cradles. The tomato parade will commence, and that will lead to plenty of inspired meals, one hopes. And then in a sudden burst of creative productivity, I may be sewing skirts, and crafting pretty details for my home and person out of ribbon, fabric, and felt.
But for now, I admit defeat. I got nothin’. I just don’t feel like it. This could very well continue through the rest of June, July and August, and in the chance that it does, consider this a forewarning. You may not find much ambitious on the pages of this here site. But summer’s not for ambition anyway, now is it?
Chicken Breasts with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Paprika
Serves 4, adapted from Bon Appetit May 2008
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon paprika (the recipe called for smoked; I didn’t have any and used hot Hungarian paprika instead)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 chicken breast halves with bones
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Mix olive oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Stir 1 teaspoon of the spiced oil into the yogurt and set aside. Place chicken on large rimmed baking sheet, and rub with 2 tablespoons spiced oil mixture. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cilantro to the remaining spiced oil mixture, and toss to coat. Spoon chickpea mixture around chicken. Season everything generously with salt and pepper.
Roast until chicken is cooked through. The original recipe said this would take 20 minutes; it took more like 40 for me, thus meaning when we ate it was a billion o’clock and I was hangry (hungry + angry). Remove pan from oven and dust with remaining cilantro. Slice up the chicken breasts and serve with chickpeas and tomatoes. Plop a dollop of yogurt sauce on top. This would be really good with some couscous, too.