A cold day, stick-to-your-ribs dinner with a just enough spice to heat you from the inside out ... no fuss ... just a slow cook in a heavy pan with a pot of rice steaming alongside. Two burners cooking supper throw a bit more heat into the cold, drafty house.
I'm alone today. I've done nothing but feed the fires in the stoves, curl on the couch under a wool blanket, knit, drink tea, read the blogs and a good book, and look at plans for a sewing project that I'd like to start. I thought about running the vacuum and then I changed my mind. Too much noise and bother. Today is a day for peace and quiet. Don't you just love solitary days?
I am convinced that I could be a hermit and be happy as a clam. My sister sent a message today asking about getting together soon and I was painfully blunt. I told her that I am shut down for a while ... in hibernation. This post-holiday time is the perfect time to hunker down and stay at home. It's cold. The roads are dicey. The bank account is depleted from holiday spending. The book pile is high with holiday gift books that beckon me. There has been a glut of socializing during the past few weeks. Now it's time to rest and watch winter unfold outside the window, feed the birds, consolidate the errand runs, keep the stove and oven going with warm stews and hot breads, pots of tea and pans of soup. It's time to cozy up and turn one's back on the outside world for a while.
So here I sit ... by the fire with a plate of food and my book for company. The woodstove fan chuffs the heat, the dogs sit at my feet and beg a nibble of chicken, the smell of curry wafts around the room, and I contentedly poke into a cozy supper. Life is bliss!
Chicken and Chickpea Curry
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. garam masala
½ tsp. hot curry powder
1 generous pinch cumin seeds
1 pinch red pepper flakes
4 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, rubbed with olive oil and salted and peppered
1- 14 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes with their juices
1- 28 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Zest of half a lemon
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. butter
3 large handfuls fresh spinach leaves, washed and spun in the salad spinner
½ tsp. salt
For toppings: Greek yogurt and chopped cilantro
On the side: Steamed rice with caraway seed for serving with the curry.
Making the Dish:
- Place the olive oil in the bottom of a heavy pan that has a tight cover. Bring the heat up under it (medium-high) and add the onion, stirring to coat with oil. Cook until it glistens and is translucent.
- Add the garlic mince and cook, stirring for one minute.
- Add the garam masala, cumin seeds, curry powder, red pepper flakes and stir to coat the vegetables.
- Sweep the vegetables aside to make room for the chicken to lie flat against the bottom of the pan.
- Lay the prepped chicken pieces top side down. Don’t move them until they have browned, then turn and let them cook for another minute.
- Pour in the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato paste, honey, lemon zest, and butter and jostle things around to combine.
- Add the chickpeas and toss to coat with the curry tomato sauce.
- Lower the heat to simmer, cover the pan tightly and cook for about 20 minutes to finish the chicken and meld the flavours in the sauce. Use this time to begin steaming the rice in another pan.
- Remove the lid and place the spinach and salt on top of the bubbling curry.
- Cover and cook just long enough to wilt the spinach – five minutes or so.
- To finish, toss the spinach through the curry sauce and taste for seasoning. It may need more salt.
- Serve the chicken and chickpea curry on a bed of steamed rice with dollops of yogurt and a handful of chopped fresh cilantro for toppers.