Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chicken and Garbanzos over Lemony Chard and Tomatoes

A lot of the time I walk into the kitchen with no idea what I plan to make for dinner. This was one of those time. I basically just started pulling things out of the fridge (looking especially for things that were about to go wrong) trying to find items that would go nicely together.

I settled on a dish that took advantage of the one chicken breast and the half can of garbanzo beans that I had left over from earlier in the week. I also got some chard in my CSA box this week that I was ready to use and I had some cherry tomatoes that were starting to get wrinkly. For good measure I also decided to add a few sprigs of asparagus.

For the Lemony Chard and Tomatoes

1 bunch rainbow chard, stems separated, leaves and stems chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp red pepper flakes

For the Chicken and Garbanzos

4 slice center-cut bacon, diced
2 small shallots, sliced
1 chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
8 or so marinated artichokes
1/2 can garbanzo beans
2 Tbls fresh parsley, minced

For the Sauteed Asparagus

12 sprigs Asparagus
olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper

Now, I wanted all of this to finish up cooking at the same time, so that meant a bunch of pans and a bit of attention to timing.

In the chicken pan I sauteed the diced bacon, then removed it from the pan. Next I added the chicken and shallots to the pan and started them cooking. Meanwhile in the chard pan, I heated some olive oil then added my chard stems, tomatoes and red onion. Then, I heated olive oil in a third pan and tossed in the asparagus which I seasoned with salt and pepper.

Just as the chicken was finish cooking through I added the garlic, then I turned the pan down and added the artichokes and garbanzo beans to heat through. In the chard pan, I added a clove a garlic and the red pepper flakes let that saute for a few seconds and then added my chard leaves and the lemon juice. I let this saute until the greens were cooked through. While doing all this, I was tossing my asparagus occasionally so that it cooked evenly.

I added the cooked bacon and parsley to the chicken then checked everything for seasoning and plated it up. I started with a bed of Lemony Chard and Tomatoes, topped this with the Chicken and Garbanzos, then finished up with a few sprigs of asparagus and a sprinkle of parsley. I also made a bit of toast (buttered and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper) to accompany the meal.

The meal took on a definite Mediterranean feel. While I love bacon, in this dish it kind of vanished among all the other flavors, so I probably would leave this out and save the calories next time. I loved the flavors of this dish. The chard had a bit of warmth from the chile flakes and a great tang from the lemon which contrasted nicely with the creaminess or the garbanzo beans. The husband said it was really good, but that it would have been "better without the leafy green stuff". Fair enough, but I like the leafy green stuff and it's good for us, so that's what he is going to get. It pays to be the chef.

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