After moving to D.C. I was lucky enough to have some time off from work, and while I spent most of my time exploring the new neighborhood, I also spent a significant amount of time driving to and from Richmond, Virginia and sometimes Charlottesville, Virginia, in between. When the traffic is right, I do not mind this trip at all. I swear I could drive it with my eyes closed – I truly wish I knew exactly how many times I’ve driven up and down 95N in the past 12 years because I am sure it is a ridiculous amount.
The ease and comfort of the trip for me is the main reason I opted to take on a tiny little side gig as an extra in one of my favorite TV shows that is filming in the Richmond metro area. It was the perfect way for me to stay busy while I job searched and to provide a little income (very little income) to our household. During one of my trips down to Richmond I had some spare time before call time and decided to go check out one of the city’s newest grocery stores, Southern Season. The store opened just after the husband and I moved to Stamford so it has been on my list of things to do in Richmond for a long time now. Southern Season is a bit different in that there is no produce – in fact the store really serves as a destination for gifts, gourmet items, housewares, and catering options. The store is awesome – expensive, but awesome. It’s a special occasion kind of place, but I’ll definitely be going back.
After gawking at the hot sauce collection for about twenty minutes, I decided to move on and instead pick up a few spices to take home. The spice I was most excited about was Aleppo pepper. This stuff was all over dishes at restaurants this past summer and I had never had the opportunity to try it out at home. Well, it took me almost two months to finally give it a shot, and this week I decided to make a sort-of Cava Mediterranean inspired farro bowl. Thanks to a little help from Bon Appétit, I marinated chicken breast in Greek yogurt and Aleppo pepper for about 24 hours, roasted it, and then served it with farro, feta, cucumber, Kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, arugula, mint, and lemon. I loved the dish and hope you will too!
2 pounds chicken breast
1 1/2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper, plus additional for sprinkling
1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-6 garlic cloves (depending on size), peeled, flattened
1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
Cooked farro (can be day old leftovers)
Generous handful of arugula
Green onion, chopped
Fresh mint, chopped
Mix Aleppo pepper with 1 tablespoon of warm water in a large bowl. Let stand for about 5 minutes, until a thick paste forms. Next, add the yogurt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, salt, and black pepper to the bowl and whisk to blend. Finally, stir in the garlic, lemon slices and chicken. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and sprinkle with extra salt, black pepper, and Aleppo pepper. Top with lemon slices. Bake for 30-35 minutes. While the chicken is cooking prep serving bowls with farro, arugula, Kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, cucumber, feta, and green onion.
Slice the chicken when it is ready, and transfer it to the farro bowls. Top with the roasted lemon slices and fresh mint.