Walking Home to Chicken-Chickpea Curry

Last night I donned my black fleece jacket and a scarf I “borrowed” from my mom and headed out for an evening walk around my neighborhood. My attire proved passable as my blood began to flow more rapidly through my veins, though it was the first walk I’ve taken this year that caused me to consider my layers. I remembered I had cheeks as I strolled down Portland Avenue, observing activity in the lit homes as I passed. Miley Cyrus belted her anthems through my headphones, and I didn’t feel guilty, I felt I’d finally embodied her art. I was wide awake. I find a more balanced self every fall when my body relaxed into its preferred climate…

…I also find an appetite. It’s been 7 years since I’ve experienced a Minnesota fall. Not to say that Wisconsin falls or even New York falls are drastically different, but there’s an off-note in the air that really wraps itself around me here and shakes my soul out. It’s sets some primal hibernation instinct off in me, and I know that at the end of a good fall walk I’ll always hope for a hearty meal on the stove when I get home (thanks Mom, for instilling that in me…). Pair this chicken-chickpea curry with some naan bread and a glass of red wine and you’ll probably find me a curled up in a blanket on the couch watching a movie, beaming like this is exactly where I’m meant to be for a very long time. And last night, it was.

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Chicken-Chickpea Curry

Makes ~4 servings

Ingredients

4 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 yellow onion, quartered
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt
Peanut (or other) oil
1 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for topping
Plain yogurt and naan bread, for serving (optional)

Directions

Pulse 3 chopped tomatoes, the onion, ginger, jalapeno, curry powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until smooth. Heat the peanut oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the tomato mixture and cook, stirring often, until darkened and paste-like, 10 to 12 minutes (add water as needed if the mixture is sticking). Add 2 1/2 cups water to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sauté the chicken breasts in one tablespoon oil over medium heat until just cooked through. Let cool and shred into bite-sized pieces using two forks. Stir in the chicken and cilantro. Cook, stirring gently, 2 to 3 minutes. Divide among bowls and top with yogurt, more cilantro and the remaining chopped tomato. Serve with naan.

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