Thursday Dinner: Spicy Potatoes and Peas with Chicken

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Here’s the problem with cumin. If you use too much, you turn dinner into a spicy mess. If you don’t use enough, you don’t get within 10 feet of the desired flavor. Cumin might be my least favorite spice, but it an absolute necessity in your stoveside lineup.

When approaching this recipe from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, I thought about going for the cumin, coriander and cayenne in my spice rack. I decided not to, opting instead for the Symeon’s spices. If you are from Central New York, chances are you have heard of this Greek restaurant on Commercial Drive in Yorkville. The food is first rate, and they sell their house spice blend to take home. Symeon’s is like the Greek Old Bay. There’s a little heat, a little salt and a lot of flavor. It goes on everything and, when mixed with a fat like oil or butter, is superb. So, in lieu of cumin, I busted out 3 tbsp. of Symeon’s.

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WHAT WORKED: The ingredients all blended together nicely. Good starch from the potatoes, sweetness from the peas, bitter from the lemons and everything else rounded out by the spice blend.

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WHAT DIDN’T: Not much. This is a pretty solid recipe.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: She approved.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: I think so. This could be a regular addition to the rainy-day lineup this summer, particularly if I can find fresh peas.

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Spicy Potatoes and Peas with Chicken
Adapted from Everyday Food, March 2011

  • 2 to 3 tbsp. Symeon’s spices
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold or butter potatoes, cubed into 3/4-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 1 bag (10 ounces) frozen peas
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium-sized pot or Dutch oven, boil potatoes in salted water. Cook 10 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Use a slotted spoon and move the potatoes to a paper towel lined plate or bowl. With the water at a boil, cook the peas for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set to the side.

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In the meantime, bring oil to a shimmer in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken 3 to 4 minutes each side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through.

Remove skillet from the oven, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Set the skillet over a medium-high burner and add the potatoes. Sprinkle with spices and stir to distribute. Cook 7 to 8 minutes, until potatoes have browned and just become crispy in spots.

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Stir in the peas and lemon juices. Adjust flavors with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving plate or bowl. Top with chicken breasts and serve.

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