As hurricane Irene struck the east coast on Sunday, James and I were grateful to have a gas stove, knowing that when the electricity went out we'd still be able to use the stovetop to cook a hot meal. Every report we read indicated that most of our neighbors were without power, and we waited, expected, ours to go out at any time. It never did. Among the lucky few who had power the whole storm, our biggest problem from the heavy winds was losing one big branch from our walnut tree. Nevertheless, the storm was severe, and we were not about to go out in it to get any ingredients. We chose a recipe that we could make with things we had on hand, or could be easily substituted. From Jane Brody's Good Food Book we selected Ginger Chicken and Chickpeas. We thawed some chicken breasts from the freezer, soaked them in lemon juice and water, and then browned in our indespensible cast-iron skillet. The chicken was removed from the pan, and then it (the pan) was used to sautee the onions. Once the onions were soft we added ground ginger (the recipe called for fresh, but we made do), cumin, cardmom, coriander and a pinch of red pepper flakes. The chicken went back to the skillet along with a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas, a cup of water, a teaspoon of cornstrarch, and a few dashes of worcheshire (the last three ingredients were a substitute for broth). After bringging the water to a boil, the pan was covered and set to simmer for 30 minutes.
This was a good, hearty meal on a day that felt more like fall than summer. The chicken had a definite kick, but I think the fresh ginger would have provided the more spicy flavor I prefer. I think I was too parsimonious with the red pepper as well.