Collegiate Cuisine: Words-Cannot-Express-Hummus-I-Love-You Chicken

Maricela Murillo, Staff Reporter

Over Mardi Gras break, my boyfriend and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day by staying as far away as we could from loud drunk people, so we retreated to our dorm room kitchen (which in hindsight, was probably not the best place for avoiding said drunk people) and cooked ourselves dinner.

My boyfriend made macaroni and cheese and I made some roasted potatoes (but that’s a recipe for another day). I also decided to make hummus chicken with roasted vegetables because hummus is awesome and vegetables are awesome and chicken is also awesome. They all work very well together, obviously. I first read about baking hummus chicken two or three years ago, and it’s a dish I like to have fun with and always find myself changing slightly.

I set the oven to preheat at 350 degrees before I got started. Then, after unpacking the two boneless skinless chicken breasts, I spent a good thirty minutes meticulously cutting off every piece of fat or tendon I could find, because a part of me is still five and refuses to eat any piece of chicken that looks or feels weird. After that was done, I seasoned it with a pinch of freshly ground (Mediterranean, if the two dollar jar I got at Walmart didn’t lie to me) sea salt and pepper, then set it aside.

Next I chopped up the vegetables—two carrots, one zucchini and one red bell pepper—into wedges or large-ish pieces and threw them into a small (think the kind used for making brownies) roasting pan and coated them with about a teaspoon and a half of olive oil. I sprinkled in a little more salt, pepper and paprika and coated them in the oil-seasoning mixture.

I put the chicken breasts directly over the vegetables because I’m not squeamish about that stuff and it’s perfectly safe to do so, but I do keep a baking rack to separate the chicken and vegetables if I’m cooking for people who aren’t as OK with it as I am. I chopped a lemon in half and squeezed a little juice over the two pieces of chicken, then I got out the roasted red pepper hummus and plopped two huge spoonfuls on them. With a different spoon, and making sure that any spoon that I touched the raw meat with didn’t find its way back into the hummus, I spread it around so that it formed a thick red layer over the chicken. For show, I squeezed over some more lemon juice (I think next time I might slice lemons very thinly and place them over the hummus) over everything and sprinkled some chopped parsley over it too.

After about 20 to 25 minutes in the oven, the chicken was bubbling and juicy, but the vegetables could stand to get a little crispier, so I moved the chicken onto a plate and covered it with foil, and put the vegetables back into the oven for another five or 10 minutes.

When they were out of the oven, I split everything evenly between our two plates and added a little more lemon juice and some more fresh parsley and we ate like college students who have been surviving off Bruff for two semesters and almost forgot what home-cooked food tasted like.