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Eat for Eight Bucks

Eat For Eight Bucks: Paprika-Braised Chicken with Chickpea Puree and Crispy Shallots

Eat For Eight Bucks: Paprika-Braised Chicken with Chickpea Puree and Crispy Shallots

Editor's note: Isn't it nice to pay with a ten, but still get change? In her new series "Eat for Eight Bucks," our Michele Humes will help you fix up a tasty spread for two, but still get two bucks back (at least). Take it away, Michele! --Erin

I quit a job in PR to go to culinary school. And I've been living out the financial consequences of pursuing what I love ever since.

In the year since graduating, I've developed a way of cooking for me and my boyfriend that's honest, nourishing, even sophisticated--but always with one eye on the piggy bank. This is the spirit of Eat for Eight Bucks.

Today's Special: Paprika-braised chicken

This is a stripped-down take on that venerable Spanish dish, the cocido. Who has the time (or the cauldron) to boil nine different meats and a bushel of chickpeas? In my version, thighs and drumsticks are braised in a salt pork and paprika broth that's swirling with spinach and redolent of Spain. I haven't forgotten about the chickpeas--they're served on the side, in a creamy puree topped with crispy shallots.

All this, for $7.58.

The Shopping List

Note: Items bought in large quantities, like salt pork, have been pro-rated for cost. Ingredients a cook can reasonably be expected to have on hand are considered "Pantry Items" and are not factored into recipe cost.

4 chicken pieces (1 lb) - $2.27
2 oz of a 12-oz package of salt pork - $0.45 (total cost of item - $2.66)
1 14.5-oz can chicken stock - $1.39
1 15.5-oz can chickpeas - $0.99
1 each onion, carrot and shallot - $0.89
1 package frozen chopped spinach - $1.59

Pantry Items
Vegetable oil; extra virgin olive oil; salt and pepper; cornstarch; flour; paprika, preferably smoked; ground cumin

Total Cost

$7.58

Star Ingredients

20090106salt_pork.jpg

Lately, I'm loving Hormel Salt Pork, the unsung hero of cured meats. In its unglamorous way, it does the same job as pancetta--and it does it at one-third the price. Dice it up and render its fat; you'll barely see it in the finished dish, but you'll taste its savory influence in every bite.

20090106seared_chicken.jpg

Dark meat is your friend. America's insatiable appetite for breast (that's chicken breast, folks) has driven the price of white meat through the roof. Luckily, budget-friendly dark meat tastes better in braises anyway. Just be sure to give the skin a thorough, golden sear, and the meat will surprise you with its succulence.

Eat For Eight Bucks: Paprika-Braised Chicken with Chickpea Puree and Crispy Shallots

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About This Recipe

Yield:2 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 skin-on chicken pieces (thighs and/or drumsticks)
  • Seasoned flour for dredging
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 oz salt pork, rind removed and finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 14.5-oz can chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked
  • 5 oz (1/2 block) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the crispy shallots
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • For the puree
  • 1 15.5-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Procedures

  1. 1

    Pat chicken dry and dredge in seasoned flour, dusting off excess. Heat vegetable oil in a large, heavy saucepan over moderate heat, until hot but not smoking. Place chicken pieces skin-side down in hot oil and sear 6-8 minutes, transferring to a plate once skin is golden brown.

  2. 2

    Discard left-over oil and reduce heat to low. In the same saucepan, cook salt pork until crispy, about 4 minutes. Add carrots and onions, stirring to coat in rendered pork fat, and cook until onion is translucent.

  3. 3

    Add chicken broth and paprika and deglaze pan by boiling and scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute. Return chicken to pan, skin-side up, along with any juices that have accumulated on plate. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

  4. 4

    Add chopped spinach and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Pour in cornstarch-water mixture, stirring to distribute, and cook until sauce is thickened, about 1 minute. Season to taste.

  5. 5

    20090106chickpea_puree.jpg

  6. 6

    Chickpea Puree with Crispy Shallots

  7. 7

    Make the crispy shallots: Place the shallots in a small saucepan and cover with vegetable oil. On low heat, bring oil to a simmer. Maintain a low, steady heat until shallots are golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain.

  8. 8

    Make the puree: Place the chickpeas, water, olive oil and ground cumin in a food processor or blender. Blend until texture is creamy and uniform, adding more water if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer to a saucepan over a low flame and heat through. Season to taste.

  9. 9

    Serve puree sprinkled with crispy shallots. If desired, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

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