Jul 31, 2014

Chicken Breasts with Chickpea Salad

Cook's Country photo
The chickpea is a legume seed that contains high amounts of protein. It is probably the oldest cultivated legume(fruit/seed) that dates at least as far back as 7,500 years that was an important food grown by the ancient Egyptians along the Nile River and popular in ancient Rome.
While the ancient Egyptians had a different name for the chickpea, its name is traced to Latin cognomen. Later the French called it cicer, derived also from the Latin. In the 18th century, the English named it Chick-pea, word taken from the French and found in English print in 1388. In the 17th century it was also called calavance, taken from the old Spanish word garbanzo
Today it is either called chickpea or garbanzo. The earliest chickpea was found in Jericho and Cayönű in Neolithic pottery at Hacilar, Turkey. As the ancient Egyptians, the Romans used chickpea in several recipes, sometimes cooked down into a broth or roasted as a snack. We know this thanks to the Roman gourmet who provided several recipes for chickpeas. Rice and chickpeas were a standard food source for the Roman legions. Ancient civilizations used chickpeas attributed the chickpea to Venus to increase sperm or milk; and medicinal purposes to provoke menstruation and help treat kidney stones. Germans, as mentioned by a German writer in 1793, substituted coffee with ground-roasted chickpeas, still sometimes brewed instead of expensive coffee.
The chickpea plant has one seedpod that contains two or three peas, with white flowers that have blue, violet or pink veins. Chickpeas require a subtropical (or tropical) climate with plenty of moisture; thus the reason it was grown along the Nile River. It can be grown in temperate climate, but the yield is not as great.
Today, the chickpea is cooked or eaten cold in salads, cooked in stews, or ground into flour in India. In Egypt it is used as a topping for Kushari and in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal) they are used in soups. The Arabs often cook chickpeas and ground them into a paste, mixed with tahini, generally eaten as a snack. Some varieties of chickpeas are popped and eaten like popcorn. Because of its high protein content, chickpeas are used as animal feed. In the United States, the chickpea is grown commercially in the Great Plains states, as well as the Mediterranean, western Asia, India, Australia, and Palouse. Chickpeas were served in old American Southern households; grown in personal gardens. In the Philippines, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are preserved in syrup and eaten as sweets or used in desserts like halo-halo. Ashkenazi Jews traditionally serve whole chickpeas at Shalon Zachar.
Chicken Breasts with Chickpea Salad serves 4.
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans (14-ounce each) chickpeas, rinsed
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ cup fresh mint
4 (6 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

  1. Whisk ¼ cup oil, lemon juice, honey, onion powder, paprika, cumin together in bowl. Set aside 3 tablespoons dressing. Add chickpeas and mint to remaining dressing in bowl. Season with salt/pepper to taste.
  2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt/pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until golden brown and meat registers 160-degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent with toothpicks and foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer chickpea salad to platter and top with chicken breasts. Drizzle reserved dressing over chicken and serve.
NOTE: I like to add Romano tomatoes sliced in half to the salad, an option. You can also add thin sliced red onion to the salad. Recipe original at Cook's Country.

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