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Monday, August 8, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Tomato Chutney Chickpeas, Cucumber Radish Salad, and Tahini-Yogurt

there's a tiny pocket of commerce in the middle of our residential neighborhood called "tangletown" where you can find one, and only one, of pretty much everything. one pub and brewery, one coffee shop, one doughnut joint, one sushi restaurant, one dentist, one general market, one dive bar, one chiropractor, and, oddly enough, one kingdom hall are a part of our little hood. (it makes our area feel just like small-town america, until you head a couple of blocks south and catch views of the towering seattle skyline.)

tangletown also has one nice restaurant, and, since 1) we can walk to it and 2) we consistently have great seasonal food and drinks there, it's the seattle restaurant we refer to as "favorite." it's called Eva, and one of their characteristics is that all of the elements on the plate are great, but when they are compiled into one bite, the dish is pretty perfect. a few weeks ago i had a dish of roasted duck with tomato–garlic chickpeas, tahini yogurt, and a salad of cucumber and radish with sumac. i was blown away by this dish. i rarely try to recreate restaurant dishes at home, but this one was so impressive and flavorful, yet fresh and unfussy, that i decided with a couple of modifications we might be able to pull it off. 

it WORKED! first modification--chicken breast instead of duck. it's a completely different texture and flavor, but i am in no way ambitious enough to cook duck. besides, eva does it so well i'll just let them cook it for me. also, i couldn't find sumac anywhere! there are a couple of specialty spice shops around town i'll hit up when i have the chance, but for this dish the sumac was just left out. i found recipes for the components of the dish on various websites, and hoped that when they all came together on the plate they would feel at home with each other. the components went together beautifully, but each is awesome on its own, so mix and match!

for chickpeas with tomato chutney
from quick tomato chutney on
*vegan *gluten-free

1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (i used yellow)
1/4 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
3 medium tomatoes, chopped (i used some from our garden that i'd frozen whole at the end of the season last year. thawed for a few minutes and the skins slipped right off!)
1 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
15 oz cooked chickpeas

heat olive oil over medium heat in a small pan. add mustard seeds. when seeds stop popping, add onion and ginger. saute 3-4 minutes.

add tomatoes and ketchup. stir and cook until tomatoes thicken and reduce. add spices and continue to cook over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens up quite a bit. you want it to cling to the chickpeas. when thickened, add chickpeas, stir to combine, and warm through.

for cucumber-radish salad
from avocado & bravado
*vegan *gluten-free

2 medium cucumbers
4 radishes
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp mint, chopped
chopped parsley to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

peel cucumber (i usually leave on about a quarter of the peel), slice into thin coins, then chop into small pieces. using a mandoline, slice the radishes thin and the chop into strips. (you can slice the radishes by hand, but a mandoline makes it so much easier...) combine cucumber and radish with diced onion in bowl.

whisk the vinegar with the olive oil and pour over the veggies. toss together with the herbs and taste for seasoning. add salt and pepper to taste, and more vinegar or herbs to your liking.

for chicken with mediterranean marinade
from the wannabe chef
*dairy-free *gluten-free

3 Tbsp balsamic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp herbes de provence (can substitute other italian herbs)
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin (not super-duper thin, just pounded out to be a fairly consistent thickness)

combine first 8 ingredients well. put chicken in ziploc bag and pour in marinade and close bag. refrigerate. normally i like to marinate chicken overnight, but this time it only sat for 3 hours and was super flavorful.

here's where it gets tricky--i don't know exactly how we cooked it. rob grilled it, and every time we fire up the grill we do quick web searches for how long to cook chicken, to what temperature it should reach to be safely cooked, then we toss it on the grill, turn it after a few minutes, check it a few minutes after that, and pull it off the heat when we're happy with it. this time i think we cooked around 5 minutes on each side? (again, the chicken had been pounded out a bit so didn't take very long.) so, i'll say this--cook your marinated chicken however works for you!

for tahini-yogurt sauce
from food & wine

1/8 cup tahini paste
juice of 1/4 lemon
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

blend tahini paste, lemon juice and olive oil in food processor. add yogurt and blend to mix thoroughly. scrape into bowl and add pepper. taste and add salt, if desired.

to serve
serve chicken, chickpeas and cucumber-radish salad drizzled with yogurt sauce and sprinkled with plenty of chopped cilantro. 

chickpas from alzarez organic farm
tomatoes, cilantro, and mint from our garden
radishes and onion from stoney plains farm
cucumber from river farm

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