Easy Middle Easternish Feast at Home

RECIPE: Chicken and Hummus with Saffron Rice

Jason and I went to dinner last weekend with a family of my clients/friends (if you don’t want to click that link to read the story, the short version is: I’m kind of a bitch when I’m hungry, feel sorry for my husband). They took us to this fantastic authentic middle eastern restaurant called The Persian Room up in North Scottsdale. It was so good I was craving more of it just a few nights later.

Thus, the inspiration for my recipe week. One of the most interesting things about the meal to me was that they served everything with a basket of amazing fresh flatbread and a plate of fresh basil and a sliced white onion. When we got to the restaurant I was STARVING TO DEATH, so Jason and I went upstairs to the bar and ordered hummus and  cocktails. It came with the flatbread and basil and onion and I was like “PleaseputeverythinginmymouthrighnowIdon’tcarewhatitisI’mgoingtodie.” The bar tender/waitress told us it all sort of went together.

So I took some flatbread, laid a leaf of basil on it, added a slice of onion and dipped it all in hummus and ate it. And then I died and went to heaven and Jason got down on his knees and thanked the gods of acceptable blood sugar levels because I was done being such a cranky shrew to him.

The point is: I could live on fresh onion, basil, flatbread and super fluffy hummus. So for dinner this week I added a side of (half-ass, store bought) Saffron rice and some marinated chicken and called it dinner. And DAMN if it wasn’t almost as good. Like five glasses of really good, not even out of a box Pinot Grigio. I want some more right now.

The only downside was trashcan mouth the next morning from so much raw garlic. But dude, that happens. And it’s worth it.

This hummus was so easy and some of the best I’ve ever had. Make it just like I wrote below.

Jason cleared out the garden boxes from the dead spring plants last weekend and found three volunteer basil plants (we didn’t plant basil in the spring). This was from that. BECAUSE WE’RE AWESOME.

Did I mention I was too lazy to find the good camera so I took these pics with my iPhone?

My helper. I should probably be nicer to him. 

So simple and fantastic. Jason ate himself sick. That’s when I know it was a really good meal. It only gets five stars if Jason has to go to bed early because he ate too much.

 

Chicken and Hummus with Saffron Rice
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Recipe type: Dinner
Author: Elizabeth
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 lbs of chicken tenders
  • 5 flatbread pitas
  • 3 cups of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 white onion, cut in half and thickly sliced
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/3 cup of tahini
  • 3 lemons
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 2 packages of Saffron rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Directions
  1. Mix 1/2 cup olive oil, juice from 2 lemons, 2 cloves of pressed garlic, tablespoon of kosher salt, teaspoon of pepper, thyme and cumin in a large bowl. Whisk to emulsify. Add chicken tenders to the bowl and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Melt butter on the stove in a medium pan with a top. Add minced yellow onion and sauté on medium low for 5-8 minutes until onions just start to caramelize.
  4. Following the directions on the packages of Saffron rice, add water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice and cover 20 mins (or what the package says) until cooked through.
  5. In a food processor, combine tahini and juice from one lemon. After it’s whipped to a fluffy texture, add remaining cloves of garlic (or to taste, if you like it less garlicy) and mix again. Add chickpeas 1/3 of the can at a time and mix. Finally add salt, and olive oil and water a few tablespoons at a time until the flavor, consistency is what you like.
  6. Heat a large skillet medium high. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. Sautee the chicken tenders until browned on both sides and cooked through.
  7. Serve with one flatbread pita, a large handful of basil, a chuck of onion slices, 1/2 cup or so of hummus, 3 chicken tenders and a side of rice. Tear off pieces of the bread and layer it with hummus, chicken, basil and onion to eat.

 

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