Grilled Lemon Cumin Chicken with Favas and Feta

The weather pattern this week almost has me believing we’re living in California wine country or something. Here we are moving straight on to summer, and yet we’ve had a series of clear, warm, dry days followed by cool, breezy evenings that make me just want to live outside. I’m savoring it, because I’m counting on the return of our normal St. Louis days of heat and booty-spanking humidity. Well, dreading them, really. 

I’d love to live outside. I’ve been sitting out in the backyard, watching the grass grow (for real) and browsing through the pages of the various catalogs that pile up around here – Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Smith and Hawken – that now have whole publications devoted to decorating the yard. I find the stylish photos very inviting, in a movie-set kind of way. And while I can easily imagine lounging on an oversized espresso-colored cushion and serving dinner on a 7-foot long dining table nestled under a big old olive tree with a chandelier hanging from it, I have to laugh.

When I insist on eating dinner in the backyard, we line up for a few thick coats of Deep Woods repellent and shovel dinner in real fast before hightailing it back inside.

In the spirit of the season, however, I made this Mediterranean-inspired chicken the other night. We ate it outside, pretty much unscathed.

I always buy fresh fava beans in the spring, because I love them. Although they require a tiny bit of extra work (double-peeling), they’re nothing like dried ones, which tend to need a lifetime of soaking and have a dry, starchy texture when cooked. Fresh favas are tender, sweet and greener than Kentucky Bluegrass. They’re also fun for kids to peel – the pods are thick and fleshy, and the beans inside rest on a fuzzy white lining like flannel pillowcases.

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  1. Gorgeous! I’ve yet to experience fava beans, dried or fresh. Where are you finding them?!!

  2. Alanna, Global has them. Also at Dierberg’s…maybe Soulard? They’re not local, though. At least not yet.

  3. Kristen says:

    I love dining outside. We do it almost every evening in the spring/summer months. If only there was a lake or ocean in our view, life would be grand!
    What a beautiful meal!

  4. I waited all winter for fresh fava beans and to my disappointment, there were virtually none to be had at the farmers’ market. Apparently, early cold snaps ruined many of them, and a lot of the farmers didn’t replant them. So, I am dying looking at those plump, green beans. I wish I had some right now.

  5. Kristen, if only is right. Well, we can still enjoy being outside even if the view is of the backyard swingset!

    Susan, oh my! I wonder where my favas came from? I assumed they were from California…

  6. Hillary says:

    Looks great! Fava beans and feta cheese seem to make a unique but delicious combination atop the chicken.

    If you want to try another Fava bean recipe, here’s a great one for Portuguese Fava beans at

  7. Looks just delicious! I’m so jealous of your fava beans. Sher of What Did You Eat grows them and is always cooking with them too. No one around here grows them, for some reason. One farmer had some last year, but they looked awful, all brown and stuff.

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