Grilled Harissa Chicken... with millet and tomato salad. Leftover chicken can be sliced and used as lunchmeat. I'm always thrilled to add another chicken recipe to my collection of simple and delicious chicken meals. I'll admit these aren't the best pictures... was hurrying up the dish, and really didn't take my time to properly heat up the grill, therefore the lack of good grill marks on the chicken. On the other hand, the chicken came out so moist and quite delicious:). In any case, this recipe came about one day when I decided to do something different with the defrosted chicken breasts I had on hand. Knowing we wouldn't eat them all at one sitting, I immediately thought of grilling them. Grilled chicken always tastes better, and it makes for good leftovers.
I'll be honest, sometimes I take the easy route and simply season the chicken with some olive oil, grated fresh garlic, salt and pepper... sometimes I'll add some chile flakes or some paprika, be it smoked or sweet. This time though, I wanted to bring in a slightly different flavor. Why, with all the spices I had in my pantry, I should be able to come up with a good spice mix:). I decided to go with a harissa marinade for the chicken. Not only would it be different, but I'd use some spices that both my husband and I love. After looking over some harissa chicken recipes online, I settled on one from Food and Wine as the inspiration for my version. And even though I ended up using spices and ingredients I had in the house, the result was still delicious!
My intention was to serve the harissa chicken atop a tomato salad, but I quickly changed my plan when I noticed a full bag of millet in my fridge. I knew it wouldn't take much to cook the millet, plus it would "stretch" the chicken meal even further and bring in some added nutrients. The millet would also help to absorb some of the tomato juices from the salad. But I loved the combination and found a new dish to make again.
I'm thinking next time, to change things up a bit, I'd substitute the millet for other grains... even couscous. And because we didn't eat all the chicken breasts, I had some leftover chicken for the following day. We sort of finished the salad and millet(millet is best the same day it's made) for dinner. The next day I decided to thinly slice the grilled chicken breasts and made a sandwich for my husband. He absolutely loved it. Sometimes I wonder why I still buy deli meats:).
The flavor on the chicken isn't overpowering, so it works to use it in sandwiches. I think when I want some lunch-meat, I'll just make the chicken without the salad. And it's a cheaper alternative to the store-bought lunch-meat... it actually tastes much better. In any case, if you're looking to try a different chicken dish, you might want to give this recipe a try(or the original from Food and Wine). Even if you make the chicken alone, to use as lunch-meat, it would still be worth it. Hope you enjoy...
You will need:
6 half boneless chicken breasts, patted dry
Dry spice mix:
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 TBS sweet paprika
2 tsps kosher salt, or to taste
1 tsp dried minced garlic
1 tsp caraway powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2-4 TBS olive oil
1 cup dried millet
2 cups water(or stock)
1 TBS butter
salt, to taste
1 1/2-2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 large radishes, optional(or use a cucumber)
lemon/lime juice or vinegar
chopped fresh cilantro
1. Mix the dry harissa spice mixture until thoroughly combined.
2. Place chicken breasts on a flat plate
3. Sprinkle the dry spice on both sides of each chicken piece, making sure to use all of the spice.
4. Drizzle 2-4 TBS olive oil over the chicken pieces and using your hands rub the oil all over each piece. You can adjust the oil amount until you get a moist thin paste one each of the chicken pieces.
5. Wrap the plate with plastic wrap or place chicken in a large plastic bag. Refrigerate overnight.
When Ready to Grill:
1. Remove chicken from fridge and allow to sit on counter for about 20 minutes or so...
2. In the meantime, cook millet, make salad and preheat grill on high.
Cook Millet: for a grain-free meal, opt to skip this and make the tomato salad only, though you may need to double the salad.
Tip: You can cook quinoa instead of millet, or even rice will work great. Couscous is another alternative...
1. Add millet to a medium dry saucepan. On medium heat, toast the raw millet for 4-5 minutes or until it turns a rich golden brown, stirring often. Be careful not to burn.
2. Pour in water/stock and salt... you may not need too much salt especially if using stock. Stir the millet.
3. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.
4. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the butter and cover pot. Simmer until the grains absorb most of the water... about 15-18 minutes. Do not lift lid off during cooking, and avoid stirring too much as it will break up the grains and make it mushy.
5. Remove pot from heat and let the millet stand covered to absorb all the liquid.... for 15 or so minutes.
6. Remove cover and fluff the millet using a fork. Adjust seasoning and add a bit more butter, if you like... serve warm.
Make Tomato Salad: if you like more salad, opt to double recipe
1. Cut tomatoes in half, slice onion and radishes( if using) and place in a bowl.
2. Drizzle tomato mix with plenty of olive oil, season with salt and squeeze a bit of lemon/lime juice over it.
Grill Harissa Chicken:
1. If the chicken is too dry, add a bit of olive oil and rub it all over. This will ensure the chicken will not stick to the hot grill.
2. Place chicken on hot grill. Lower heat to medium and cook chicken on one side for about 3-5 minutes. Flip over and continue to grill the second side until chicken just cooked. I like to slightly undercook the chicken... the chicken will continue to cook as it sits to rest. Overcooking will make the chicken dry, and that's not a good thing:)
Assemble Dish: family style
1. Place fluffed millet on a large plate, Spoon tomato salad around the millet and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
2. Place the grilled chicken breasts on top of the millet/tomato salad... serve with lime wedges, if desired or yoghurt sauce.
Cold leftover harissa chicken sliced thinly on a bias makes wonderful lunchmeat!