After 8 years of cooking and then writing about it, I have enough confidence in my skills to say that I am an above average home cook. I can, on a fairly consistent basis, put a meal on the table that doesn’t kill anyone. I have also been fortunate enough to produce some pretty amazing creations that have been met with rave reviews, but, until last week, I have never made anything “life changing”.
My daughter’s dislike of beans is legendary. In her 9 years on the planet no amount of begging, cajoling, or even bribing has convinced that child to eat beans and like them. That changed this past weekend when my daughter decided that, for her daddy’s birthday, she would give beans a try. They were lima beans. Maybe not the best bean to start with, but she ate them without complaint and declared that they were “ok”.
Feeling brave, I decided that maybe what she needed was a tastier bean and scrounged through cookbooks and online articles for the best strategy for the advancement of Project Bean Eater. What I came up with was a flavor packed dish with an aroma so mouth-watering that my red-headed angel came running to see what was cooking. Once on the table, the only noise I could here were the clinking of forks on plates and little moans of pleasure coming from every member of my family. My husband declared this dish “life changing” and I agreed when my daughter, bean-hater extraordinaire, asked for a second helping.
Harissa paste is a common Moroccan ingredient that you can find in some supermarkets and specialty stores. My version is a cheater version that anyone can easily put together. Make this paste ahead and keep it in the fridge. It’s great on potatoes, shrimp, or mixed in to your mayo!
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 whole chicken, cut up to 6 pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T tomato paste
- ¼ cup harissa paste (recipe below)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2-15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- Chopped parsley and lemon wedges, to serve
- 3 T chili powder
- 2 t. coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 roasted bell pepper
- 3 sundried tomatoes, chopped
- Zest and juice of ½ lemon
- For the Harissa Paste: Toast the coriander and caraway seeds in a dry skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Remove to a mortar and pestle and grind to a powder. Add the powder and the remaining ingredients to a food processor or a blender and blend until you have a smooth paste. Place in a jar with a tight lid and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
- For the Chicken and Beans: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large ovenproof skillet heat the oil over medium high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken and then place it skin side down in the pan. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 5 minutes per side and then remove from the pan. Pour off all but a tablespoon of the fat and then add the onion and garlic to the skillet, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the onion begins to soften and then stir in the tomato paste. Cook for 1 more minute then stir in the chicken broth, harissa paste, beans, and the tomatoes (poke them with a knife before you put them in the pan). Nestle the chicken and the juices back into the pan and cook until a thermometer reaches 165 degrees, about 25 minutes. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges for squeezing over the dish.