Saturday, December 20, 2008

Adventures in Hummus, and Fried Turkey. Also, starring hot pepper flakes.

I love chickpeas. delicious hot or cold, they are full of nutrition, easily accessible, and cheap. Right out of the can, or mashed with garlic and salt into hummus, what's not to love?

Since I almost always have a can (ok, maybe a few cans) of chickpeas on hand, this recipe is especially easy. it's saucy, so make some rice or mash potatoes to go with it.

Chicken 'n Chickpeas, adapted from The Joy of Cooking

approx two pounds chicken parts, cut up (chop a thigh in half, or a breast in thirds)
1 tbsp butte
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped
one 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water or broth
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ginger
salt & pepper
heaping 1/4 tsp cinnamon
generous pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

melt butter in very large skillet (i LOVE my new dutch oven!!). over medium-high heat, brown the chicken quickly on all sides, in multiple batches if you need to. remove the chicken, and add onions and green onions to pan, adding a bit more oil if you need to. cook until onions are tender, then add chickpeas and all spices (not the parsley). stir until well mixed, and add the chicken back in, stirring to coat. bring mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer until chicken is tender, 30-40 minutes. before serving stir in the parsley, and more salt/pepper if needed. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes. Your kitchen will smell like the best North African travel channel show while you are cooking this.

Hubby and I had no idea this dish would be so saucy, so after eating all the chicken and as much chickpeas as he could stomach, we were left with about a cup of sauce. I couldn't let it go to waste, and it did have all the required ingredients for hummus - chickpeas, garlic, oil, some salt, some spice. Into the blender it went!

Lesson learned: sometimes sauces just don't taste good all by themselves. No matter how tasty the bread or crackers or whatever. . . . my improv hummus is still sitting in the fridge, and next time i look at it, it's going in the trash. the hummus disaster was a big gross.

ahh, now on to my husband's favorite food ever: Schnitzel. raise your hand if you, like me, thought that schnitzle was some kind of pastry. Such a long word with so few vowels has got to be some kind of pastry, right? well, maybe it is somewhere, but the kind i'm talking about is made of turkey, and it's breaded, egged, breaded again, and fried. and I make a funky citrus spicy salsa to go with it.

Turkey Schnitzel, adapted from Faye Levy's 1,000 Jewish Recipes
approx 1 1/4 lbs turkey slices, about 1/4" thick (feel free to pound 'em thin)
good pinch hot pepper flakes
1 cup matzoh meal (or a little more)
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil

Season turkey slices with salt, pepper, paprika and hot pepper flakes. You will need 2 large plates, and one good sized bowl. in the bowl, beat the eggs. On each plate, put about 1/2 cup matzoh meal. for each turkey slice, dip it in the first plate of matzoh meal, pressing so the meal sticks. then dip gently into egg, then dip in the second plate of matzoh meal, again pressing so the meal sticks. after all your slices are prepped, heat the oil in a very large heavy bottomed skillet. you need enough oil to cover the botton of the pan, and slosh around a little. We're not going to deep fry the turkey, but we're not shallow frying it either. somewhere in between. Get the heat cranked up, and very gently slip a few turkey slices into the pan. Fry about 2 minutes each side, or until cooked and golden brown.

While one person is frying, the other person can make this insanely easy crazy sharp relish, also inspired by a recipe from the same cookbook:

Caper Lemon salsa
1 lemon
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp dried oregano
pinch of salt
3 tbsp capers, rinsed
good pinch hot pepper flakes
splash olive oil
few tbsp chopped parsley

peel the lemon, and using a sharp knife, get as much white pith off as you can. Chop the lemon flesh, removing any seeds and stringy pithy bits. Add lemon to bowl with onion. add all other ingrediends, and mix well. let sit 5 or 10 minutes before eating.

sharp as hell on it's own, this salsa went incredibly well with the turkey schnitzel. No clue as to why they played together so well, but they did, and it was awesome.

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