Week 8: Dinner: Changing The Game: A Cookbook

*Note: this post was written pre-pandemic shutdown of pretty much everything. The tone of subsequent posts will change quite a bit, but I needed a tiny bit of normal before delving into the world of what grocery store shortages and crazy lines do to our cooking lives.

That, my friends, is A LOT of colons in one book title.

I’ve always enjoyed Melissa Clark’s recipes in the New York Times, and was very happy to see this cookbook on sale on Kindle. Yep, I’m cheap. And fine with that. I love buying Kindle books on sale. Just as I adored the bargain sections at actual physical bookstores when bookstores existed. I always figured that if I became a published author, I would have really “made it” when my book ended up in the bargain section.

Find the book here on Amazon.

I’ve made quite a few of Clark’s recipes (44 to be exact, thank you NYT Cooking Recipe Box), and was excited to dive into this book.

Oh, and also, I was very excited about Meyer Lemons, and bought a bag at TJ’s without knowing what I was going to do with them. Off I went to “Eat Your Books” and did a search through my library for ingredients (which, honestly, is one of THE BEST features of this site (I don’t get any kickback from them, I just LOVE this site). I found her recipe for Smoky Paprika Chicken with Crispy Chickpeas, Roasted Lemon and Baby Kale in Dinner: Changing the Game and off I went.

It was an exceedingly easy meal to prep, as it is basically roasted chicken with some veg. Of course I modified it.

  • I stuffed the chicken with a full Meyer lemon instead of just half. My lemons were small.
  • For the paprika, I only used one kind, which was Penzey’s, which isn’t really either sweet, nor hot. Just smoky and perfect and I love it.
  • Two cans of chickpeas, rather than 1.5 cups, as it just seemed wasteful not to use the entire can.
  • Full Meyer lemon squeezed onto the kale and chickpeas at the end, as I really like this flavor.
  • I made duckfat roasted potatoes (also a Melissa Clark recipe, from NYT cooking) on the side for a carb.

I blanched the Meyer lemons. Not sure why, as we’ll eat the lemons without anything on them, but whatever. Clark said it was to eliminate some of the lemon’s bitterness. I guess I could see this with regular lemons, but Meyer?

Blanching the lemons.
Chicken roasting with the chickpeas catching all the juices. This is before I threw in the kale. Also, I made the kale crispy, which was wonderful. Also, also, really don’t care about burned wingtips. So I don’t bother with tinfoil on them.

This recipe was easy, it was good, the leftovers are gone. If I was to do anything differently, I’d probably add some garlic to the kale and chickpeas. Also, by the way, this recipe had zero onions or garlic. So the IBS that I’m 100% in denial about having was happy, even if palate-wise, Chris and I wanted some alliums.

The final, plated meal. It was delicious.

The weirdest part of this entire recipe is that I woke up at 3am after I made the recipe and said to myself, “wait a minute, the recipe is called “Smoky Paprika Chicken,” but I didn’t put any paprika on the chicken. Did I miss a step? Misread the recipe? Misremember the title?”

I rolled over in bed, grabbed my iPad and fired up my Kindle app. After reading through the entirety of the recipe again, there was zero application of paprika to the chicken. 100% of the spice went onto the chickpeas. I’m a wee bit confused about the recipe’s name, but otherwise, this one was a winner. I might be a rebel and put paprika on the chicken if I make this again.

Next up, Chris’s picks.


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