Spicy Chicken with Black Bean, Cranberry, and Sweet Potato Salsa

I loved this dish, and it’s incredibly simple and easy to make. “Spicy” is debatable, but you can certainly add more cayenne if you want some extra heat. Start by dusting the chicken with cumin, cayenne, chili powder, and salt to give it plenty of flavor. Butterflying and broiling the chicken makes it cook quickly, although you can also sauté it if you prefer.

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I enjoyed the sweet potato and black bean salsa so much that I made a second batch to eat for lunch. The salsa is a healthy and hearty mix of sweet potatoes, black beans, onions, and cranberries tossed with garlic and lime. The spices in the chicken blend with the salsa to create a Mexican-inspired meal. The result is a light dinner that is also satisfying. Brightly colored sweet potatoes and cranberries also make it a beautiful dish.

a light dusting of cilantro on top would add some pretty green

a light dusting of cilantro on top would add some pretty green

If you’re looking for an easy appetizer to serve with this meal, I recommend making blistered padron peppers. Be careful–one out of every eight or so is surprisingly hot! Generally they are mild peppers with a texture so rich and smooth, they almost taste like butter. Don’t be afraid to really let them blacken, and be sure you have Maldon salt to season them properly. The triangular shape of the salt flakes makes the flavor pop.

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Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken with Black Bean, Cranberry, and Sweet Potato Salsa

Fine Cooking            Issue 131

Moroccan Carrot Soup

I’ve been craving a meal that is full of spice—not heat, but a blend of flavors that wakes up my palate. This soup is light enough for Spring, while satisfying the remnants of my desire for rich Winter food.

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When I saw the recipe it immediately reminded me of the Roasted Carrot Harrissa I’ve written about before. With that in mind, I added a couple of cloves of garlic to the onions and carrots and was very pleased with the result. If you’re looking for a more complex flavor you can roast the carrots and onions instead of simmering them, but for me simmering allowed the toasted cumin to take center stage. On that note, take a few minutes to toast cumin seeds and grind them yourself as the recipe calls for. It’s surprising that cumin alone can add so much flavor. It’s definitely worth the extra step!

honey, lemon, and allspice are perfectly balanced

honey, lemon, and allspice are perfectly balanced

toast cumin seeds in a dry pan until they become fragrant

toast cumin seeds in a dry pan until they become fragrant

Besides being delicious, this recipe takes about 40 minutes to prepare. It’s bright and beautiful, and couldn’t be more simple.

serve with a dollop of plain yogurt

serve with a dollop of plain yogurt

Moroccan Carrot Soup via Epicurious

Bon Appétit            April 2010