Sure enough, the oddball recipe for “Roast Chicken Thighs with Tomato-Tapioca Porridge,” from the September 2012 issue of Food & Wine, was an untypical combination of tasty flavors: carrot + chicken + tomato + pistachio. Indeed, stirring the magical, gelatinous tapioca pearls into my homemade tomato sauce was brilliant. We loved it.

My big, gnarly tomatoes pureed perfectly in my blender. Very few seeds/solids were left to discard. I added 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper to the simmered sauce.

As for the carrots, I chose not to brown them on the stove top for three precious minutes, before roasting them for 40 (why do that?). They roasted fine without that step, as far as I could tell.

My boneless chicken thighs were also skinless. I seasoned them with 1 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper, before browning, roasting, and broiling them. My cast-iron pan did its job.

Tapioca may not be the first thing you reach for when assembling a tomato sauce, but it’s a fun textural element here. This meal celebrates taste and feel.

Tomatoes (2 lbs.) = $4.50
Carrots (6) = $2.00
Chicken Thighs (2.43 lbs.) = $8.62

PREP TIME: enjoy your meal after two hours of prep and cooking
fresh tomato sauce includes pops of gelatinous tapioca pearls, juicy chicken thighs are crisped in the broiler, carrots are roasted until they are sweetened candy, and pistachios remain earthy reminders of the value of a nut on our plate

Next time, I will cook the “Mushroom-and-Spinach Cups,” from the September 2012 issue of Everyday Food, along with the “Greek Yellow Split Pea Purée,” from Worth the Whisk. See my meal when you come back to my site soon.