Roast Paprika Chicken, Garbanzo Beans and Tomatoes over Couscous

Paprika is too overqualified as a garnish. It sits in the back of most spice racks behind the thyme, basil and rosemary. Blame it on the average grocery store’s fault for offering a pretty spice with no substance. I thought sour cream was the star of the traditional Hungarian dish, Chicken Paprikash. I love how gourmet stores, food television networks and online media have expanded our culinary repertoires.

Looking for ingredients for a spicy enchilada dish at a gourmet store, I discovered a Spanish Smoked paprika. There were three versions: bittersweet, sweet or spicy. I picked the sweet version and returned home. I gently dipped a spoon into the tin can to retrieve a hint of a taste. It was powder to the paprika pandemonium delicious. The future of my menus would alter dramatically. The social order of my spices shifted. Paprika was no longer limited as a garnish. It has become one of my favorite spices. I use it minimally, because it’s a dominant flavor.

The Roast Paprika Chicken, Garbanzo Beans and Tomatoes over Couscous recipe is simple and quick. Find the source of the recipe at the end of this post. My version may be more complicated. However, it’s a quick weekday meal.

Roast Paprika Chicken, Garbanzo Beans and Tomatoes over Couscous

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tbsp. smoked paprika*
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (adjust to taste)
2 tsp. tomato paste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 whole chicken; cut into parts; save the back for chicken stock (or use chicken thighs or breast meat with their skin and bones)
1-15 oz. can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
2 cups of grape tomatoes; cut in half lengthwise
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
2 to 3 stalks of celery; diced
(Optional) 1/2 cup red wine
1-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro; divided in thirds
1/2 cup/5 oz. of Greek yogurt
Garnish: Coucous

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Whisk first seven ingredients in medium bowl to make the Paprika Oil. Set aside 3 tablespoons of oil mixture into a different bowl.

3. In a large bowl, mix the rest of the paprika oil, chicken parts*, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, red onion, celery, the optional red wine and the first third cup of cilantro with together.

4. Place Paprika chicken and vegetables over a foil lined, large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over and mix the vegetables. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle second-third of cilantro on top.

5. Making the yogurt sauce: Whisk the 3 tablespoons of paprika oil (see step 2) with yogurt and the last third cup of cilantro. Set aside.

6. Preparing the couscous: Prepare couscous according to the manufacturer’s directions.

7. To plate: Put couscous onto plate. Top with chicken and vegetables. Spoon the yogurt sauce on top.

*Flavor Note: Marinate chicken in paprika oil for 1 to 2 hours before adding adding vegetables.

Note: Find smoked paprika at specialty gourmet stores.