Sunday, February 12, 2012

THE Chicken

This is THE chicken. This Bon Appetit recipe is very well reviewed on Epicurious and is now well cooked among my friends, my family and in my own kitchen here in Los Angeles and abroad. It seems unassuming at first glance, but with the smoked paprika, cumin, and cooling yogurt sauce it has distinctive Moroccan flavors, a little bite from chile pepper flakes and favors a carb conscious diet.


I have made this chicken at home many times because it is fast and inexpensive. I also made it last summer cooking for eleven people in a tiny London kitchen. What is up with the tiny-ness of UK kitchens? It's not like the British are miniature people. I also cooked it this fall for a very good friend's baby shower in Austin. I claim to this day J owes baby Laine's good looks and happy nature to this chicken. More recently, I threw it together for an Australian Open viewing party instead of ordering pizza, food win all around, IMO. 


This is very easy, and as stated, preparation is not time consuming. A couple things to remember. The chicken must be on the bone whether you choose to use breast pieces, or thighs and legs. The bones elevate the chicken from the cooking sheet allowing it to crisp a little all around. Also, the above pic shows the ingredients quite packed together in the cooking pan. Don't do this. Use a pan larger than you need (two if you are doubling the recipe) so the tomatoes and garbanzos have room to spread out and crisp as well. The beans should be toothsome and the tomatoes should get nice and roasty. Do what I say, not what I do.

My mom is a genius at following, interpreting and tweaking recipes, bringing them to further greatness. She suggests doubling the oil mixture, so you can be a little more generous with the yogurt sauce and a little extra spiced oil also leaves your chicken nicely moist.

I am having some formatting issues with this post, annoying the piss out of me on a Sunday morning. Read more after the jump

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 4 chicken breast halves with bones
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Preheat oven to 450°. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Pour 1 teaspoon spiced oil mixture into small bowl; whisk in yogurt and set aside for sauce. Place chicken on large rimmed baking sheet. Rub 2 tablespoons spiced oil mixture over chicken. Add beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cilantro to remaining spiced oil mixture; toss to coat. Pour bean mixture around chicken. Sprinkle everything generously with salt and pepper. Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cilantro. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon bean mixture over. Serve with yogurt sauce.


The night I cooked this I also made baked potato chips. I am clearly not following a carb conscious diet. Potatoes. Give them to me. I followed this recipe very loosely. They turned out tasty, the three of us inhaled them. Be careful when cooking as they burn very easily on the bottom while you are attempting to brown them on top.


This chicken dish is much heralded. Give it a try, I am convinced home cooks at every level need this in their arsenal.

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