Chickpea Salad

I’m not on a vegetarian kick, I swear. If you read Monday’s post, you’ll recall this tasty pita. It’s soooo good. This salad, it’s also soooo good. I love salad, I really do. But slimy gross lettuce with mealy, cardboardy tomatoes (yes, cardboardy, I said it) makes me kind of want to gag. No one wants to open up their little lunch container to look at that. Blerg.

This salad isn’t like that. All the ingredients are sturdy, easy-to-transport, tasty items that you’ll love for lunch. My only caution on this one, it has some rather pungent ingredients, so if you have co-workers you like, you might want to bring your toothbrush for after lunch. But you should keep one in your desk anyway, you never know. For those of you who work alone, tear it up, no toothbrush needed.

Chickpea Salad 

Recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray

Ingredients

There’s no cooking here friends, just dumping ingredients into a bowl. You can totally do this. You can even buy pre-chopped ingredients if you need to.

Rinse your beans. You should ALWAYS rinse canned beans. It helps decrease the sodium by like 50% or something, maybe more. Plus, that bean juice can be kind of gross. Get it off.

Add the onion, red pepper, and celery. Use the leafy green parts of the celery if you have them. They’re good for you.

Add the rosemary and crushed red pepper flakes. It’s not going to be hot, just has a little kick. But if you’re sending this with your kiddo for lunch, you can omit it if you like. Just make sure to adjust the black pepper accordingly.

I use a garlic press to smash my garlic. You can chop it, mash it with a fork, whatever. Just get it into small bits and then grind it with a little salt. Mash it up into a paste and blend it with the oil and red wine vinegar. Pour this over the mixture.

Use a spatula to mix well. Make sure everything gets coated with the red wine vinegar mixture. At this point Mr. Bundt came into the kitchen and said it smelled good and could he have it for breakfast. Um, no. And here’s why. This is one of those salads that needs to sit in the fridge, at least for a few hours. Let it meld. It’s worth the wait, I promise.

It’s soooo good! The creamy chickpeas with the crunchy vegetables is a great combination. A little feta on top might be nice too. Don’t mix it into the whole salad though, crumble a few pieces over your serving before you eat it.

If you love this kind of salad, check out this great quinoa salad here.

What kind of salad do you like? Do you take it for lunch at work or eat it at home?

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Apple Cider Chicken

The Cider Braised Pork Chops were such a hit, when I saw this recipe for Apple Cider Chicken I knew I had to try it. The levels of flavor that come from using apples, cider, apple brandy, and cider vinegar combined with the crispy skinned chicken make this dish a hit. And, unlike the chops, it requires only a few minutes in the oven, so it’s great for a weeknight meal. This recipe is from the same source as well, our friends at Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen, so you know it’ll be good!

Apple Cider Chicken

  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (I used thighs, but other pieces are fine, adjust cooking times as needed)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large Golden Delicious, Cortland, or Jonagold apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup apple brandy (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Heat your oven to 450 degrees with the rack in the middle position.

 

In an ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Rinse and pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken, skin side down, until well browned, about 10 minutes.

 

This is a good opportunity to use a timer. Don’t be like me. I have no concept of time. Five minutes, ten, twenty? I don’t know. But the timer does and it will help keep you on track.

Brown the thighs skin side down

Flip the tight and brown on the second side, about five minutes.

Brown the second side

Transfer the things to a plate and pour off all but 1T of fat from the pan. Cook the onion in the fat until softened, about five minutes.

Soften the onions

Add the garlic, thyme, and flour and cook, about one minute, until fragrant and flour is absorbed.

Add the thyme, flour, and garlic

Add the apple, cider, and 3T brandy and bring to a boil. Deglaze pan with spoon (remember, deglazing is just a fancy word for scraping up the browned bits).

Add the apples, cider, and brandy and deglaze

Nestle the chicken, skin side up, into the sauce and roast uncovered until white meat reaches 160 degrees (175 degrees for dark meat), about ten minutes.

Nestle the chicken in the sauce and bake

Transfer the chicken to a platter. Add vinegar and remaining brandy to the sauce, stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve, passing sauce at the table.

Finish the sauce with brandy and cider vinegar

I served mine with some braised collard greens. But a baked sweet potato, butternut squash, stewed apples, or spinach would all be lovely.

Apple Cider Chicken

This was a quick and tasty weeknight meal! What do you like to cook up on a weeknight? Any seasonal flavors that you’re loving right now?