Thursday, July 27, 2006

Harissa-Marinated Grilled Chicken

Yesterday, another Be Wise CSA box arrived - brimming with summer produce. (I am almost ashamed to admit it, but I missed the last delivery because I was busy with work and completely forgot to pick it up! Hopefully they gave it away to someone who got some use out of it!)

This week's box was filled with beefsteak tomatoes, a box of grape tomatoes, oranges, red cherries, romaine lettuce, bok choy, turnips, golden beets, carrots, deep purple green beans (that turned green when cooked!) radishes and jalapenos. We received so much that I gave some away because I knew we wouldn't be able to eat it all. I wonder if we are getting more in the deliveries now that they have closed their farmstand. I think this was our last trial delivery, and I am thinking of switching to a "small share" instead of large. I hate to waste food, and there are only two of us.

Brandon joined us for dinner, and I made a green bean salad with the purple/green beans and some of the grape tomatoes, and Harissa-Marinated Grilled Chicken. The recipe calls for toasting a number of spices and grinding them with a mortar and pestle - but I had already ground spices on hand, so I threw everything into the chopper attachment to my hand blender and it worked fine - though if you have the time or inclination, I am sure the original recipe is excellent. You can find it on Epicurious as "Grilled Moroccan Chicken with Curried Couscous." It has to marinate overnight, so requires a bit of advance planning, but then your work is half done. Here is the recipe I followed. Keep in mind that it's very flexible - if you like more or less of a certain spice, feel free to add it. You can also use more or less garlic, oil or lemon as your taste dictates. It's hard to go wrong.

Harissa-Marinated Grilled Chicken
adapted from Epicurious

1 whole organic chicken, cut into quarters, skin removed or 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (you might need more to get the emulsion to blend)
3 Tablespoons of Sweet Hungarian Paprika
1/4 tsp of salt
a few grinds of pepper

3 Tablespoons of Harissa
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Place all of the harissa ingredients up through and including the olive oil in a small chopper or food processor and whir until blended. If you have a spice grinder or coffee grinder dedicated to spices, you can also grind the dry ingredients together and then stir in the oil and garlic. Stir in the paprika, salt and pepper.

Whisk the marinade ingredients together, cover the remaining harissa with olive oil and store in the fridge in a sealed container - it keeps indefinitely, and you'll have enough to make the recipe three or four times.

Prepare the chicken for marinating - place a few tablespoons of the marinade in a plastic bag add your chicken parts, and massage the marinade into the meat. Place the bag in a bowl in the fridge, and marinate overnight in the fridge. Turn the bag over in the morning.

When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade and prepare the grill. If you are grilling outdoors, you might want to leave the chicken bone-in. I cooked mine on a grill pan, so I de-boned it and cut it into smaller pieces.

The instructions for the original recipe specify to heat the bbq grill to medium/low heat, and grill the bone-in quartered chicken for about 45 minutes, turning occasionally. A grill pan on very high heat will also produce a nicely grilled flavor - just make sure you turn on the exhaust fan, lest your kitchen fill with spicy smoke.

I would also serve this over rice (Trader Joe's microwave brown rice is fantastically easy) with a Thai-style cucumber relish, and I think it would also be nice with yogurt and pita, or chopped up in a salad.


  1. We originally started with Be Wise's large box, weekly and it was just too much. The small box isn't that much smaller...

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