Chef JJ Johnson's Favorite Pantry Dinner Is So Good, Our Tester Is Already Planning to Make It Again
If you’re in the mood for a comforting, satisfying meal that you don’t have to run to the store to make, we have the perfect recipe for you.
In an exclusive interview with Chef JJ Johnson, we talked all about his newest cookbook, The Simple Art of Rice: Recipes from Around the World for the Heart of Your Table. In our discussion, we asked Johnson where to even begin in this collection of delicious recipes, and what recipe he recommends the most from his new cookbook. While a tough decision, a dish that he settled on utilizes pantry staples: Curried Rice & Chickpeas with Eggs.
“Everybody has canned chickpeas, you probably have curry that you're nervous to use and you have an egg. And you can enjoy this meal for any period of the day, breakfast, lunch or dinner,” Johnson explains. “That's a great place to start.”
Say less, chef! Here’s the full recipe for Johnson’s fiber-rich, protein-packed dish that our recipe tester Hilary Meyer is already planning to make again—plus read more about the James Beard award-winning chef and his most recent collaboration with Buchanan’s Whisky below!
Curried Rice & Chickpeas with EggsActive time: 20 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
More About Chef JJ Johnson
James Beard award-winning cookbook author Chef JJ Johnson is known to combine culture with comfort. And his recent partnership with Buchanan’s Whisky We Are the Spirit of the 200% campaign—which he curated a dinner for alongside Saturday Night Live’s Marcello Hernández—promotes just that.
“America is a really diverse place,” Johnson tells EatingWell. “A person may represent 100% as an American and 100% of something else, there's a lot of us running around. This really gets people feeling comfortable in a space where they might not feel comfortable.”
Last month, Johnson helped develop a menu for Noche Buena, which starred delicious foods like pasteles, classic rice and beans, roasted pork, cauliflower steak, coquito, as well as more dishes loved by both the chef and Hernández.
“I think a beautiful thing when you want to get to know somebody is that food will make it happen,” Johnson says. “It starts the conversation, and I really enjoyed working with [Hernández] on setting the table and having his items there alongside my items, which was really a hit.”
Some last tidbits about Johnson: His dream dinner guests? Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. And when we asked him what “eating well” means to him, here’s what he had to say:
“Eating well for me is consciously doing better than what you were doing before,” he explains. “So as you get older or get more knowledge around food, you can eat better. You can eat well and you know what well is for you. That doesn't mean you need to remove things from your diet, but including what makes you feel good, gives you energy and doesn't make you sluggish. And eating well is a table filled with great people eating traditional food that you grew up on. That’s what ultimately eating well is for me and my family.”