In my pre-cooking days, I was not a big fan of flavor. I ate dry cereal (Lucky Charms, no matter the age, thankyouverymuch), turkey and cheese (one slice each) sandwiches on whole wheat with relish (still do, no shame in that), and any kind of pasta with minimal sauce. And cookies, of course (of course).
At that same time, I was very into astrology and horoscopes. Scorpios are fiercely loyal (check), intense (check), intensely private (yup), dramatic (double check), and wise beyond their years (umm???....).
According to Tarot.com "Scorpio is the only sign that has three animal totems. First, there is the well-known Scorpion with its active tail. Second, as the Scorpio learns to master its passion and hold its instincts at bay, it changes into the Eagle. The Eagle has more perspective, for it flies high above the surface of circumstances, swooping down with its power only to kill prey for food. In its third form, the Scorpion becomes the always-peaceful dove. The real meaning of Scorpio is thus shown. Scorpio is about metamorphosis. Scorpios transform the painful poisons of possessive passion into a higher consciousness based on universal love."
I've got three animal totems?! Holla! Whatever those are they must be special. Because that makes a shape shifter much like Sam Merlotte from True Blood - from a Scorpion who will kill you to an eagle that flies high to a dove!? I'm a hot commodity.
Scorpios are in the 8th House (Transformation aka Shapeshifting Holla) and are ruled by the planet Pluto. When it comes to food, Scorpios are known to enjoy foods as fiery as their personalities: foods like Indian, Thai, West Indian, etc.
Well, that just isn't true! I would think to myself. Is everything I stand for a lie? Am I not the Scorpio I thought I once was? AND Pluto is not a planet???
Who am I?
Little did I know that I just needed to come to my senses. Maybe it's because I cook, maybe because my palatte is more refined, or maybe I just realized that one can't go through life eating dry sandwiches with relish and Lucky Charms marshmallows, as much as I tried.
But it happened. I love food that is packed with flavor. So when I received my daily (weekly? I can't keep track) email from Saveur Magazine for quick weeknight dinners, I immediately headed off to the supermarket to make this dish. And quick it was. It takes about 30 minutes to throw together, and luckily, I had all of the spices on hand to make the frangrant, complex Iraqi spice mix that is suggested for the dish (you can use curry powder if you don't have all of the ingredients for the spice mix).
No tricky or complicated methods here. Just simple cooking to create a delicious stew of fall-off-the-bone chicken, tender potatoes, firm chickpeas, and a deliciously flavorful broth.
You don't even need to be a Scorpio to enjoy the dish. But if you want to fly around the streets with a killer tail, you'll have to have been born between October 23 and November 23. Sorry.
Spiced Chicken and Chickpea Stew adapted from Saveur
1⁄4 cup canola oil
6 cloves garlic
3 small onions, quartered
4 medium waxy-style potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. Spice Mixture or curry powder
1 tbsp. ground turmeric
1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 skinless chicken legs (about 1 lb.)
4 skinless chicken thighs (about 1 lb.)
1 19-oz. can chickpeas, drained
4 pieces khubuz al-tannour (Iraqi flat bread),
naan, or pita
1 lemon, quartered
1. Heat oil in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions, potatoes, bay leaves, spice mixture, turmeric, and salt. Cook, stirring and scraping bottom of pot occasionally, until onions and potatoes are golden, about 10 minutes. Add chicken and 3 1⁄2 cups water; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, until chicken is tender and cooked through, 20–25 minutes.
2. Add chickpeas; cook for 5 minutes more. Taste the stew and season with more salt, to taste. Line 4 bowls with torn pieces of the flat bread. Ladle stew over bread. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over each bowl and sprinkle with sumac.