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Spicing up Chicken with Harissa

There were chicken breasts in the fridge and the weather was dry, so doing grilled chicken for dinner seemed like a good idea.   While my first inclination was to just throw on some garlic and herbs, I decided I was looking for something a little different.  After rummaging through the pantry, I found a small can of harissa that I thought would be the cure for my boring chicken.  Harissa is a hot chili paste if you’re not familiar.  This is by no means an expertly perfected recipe, but it was easy and perhaps it will inspire you to try out some new flavors in the kitchen.

For the chicken, I simply went with the following:

Dry chicken breasts.
Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Spread harissa onto breasts.  I would use a teaspoon per piece as a guideline.  I used more of a heaping teaspoon each for pleasantly spicy chicken, but you can go either way depending on preference.  I cooked these on the grill, but these could be done on the stove or in the oven.

I smeared the harissa onto the chicken before starting the grill so that it would penetrate the chicken a bit.  In the meantime, I also started concocting a garnish for the meat.  This lemon cilantro relish provided great balance to the spiciness of the chicken.

Cilantro Lemon Relish (Enough for 4 chicken breasts)

    • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
    • Juice from one lemon
    • Pinch of Kosher Salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Place onions in bowl.  Pour lemon juice over onions and add salt and sugar.  Stir to combine.  Add oil and cilantro and stir well. Let sit for at least ten minutes.  Use as garnish.


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