My first recipe for 2017 and I have to say, it was pretty good! At this time of year in the Southern Hemisphere the barbecue is a must on hot days but not just any old barbecue. Chicken thigh fillets were given a major flavour boost with one of my favourite condiments. Harissa, widely used in North Africa is a blend of chilli and spices and packs a gorgeous punch to loads of dishes from marinades to soups and stews. It has a little heat so I thought it best to pair it with a healthy salad of quinoa, broccolini and cooling orange. A simple herb dressing and a dollop of yoghurt completed the winning combo! Happy New Year!
Prep time: 30 Minutes Marinating time: 1 Hour Cooking time: 30 Minutes $$ Medium budget
8 Chicken thigh fillets, trimmed of excess fat
1-2 tbs of Harissa paste* (depending on your chilli tolerance)
2 tbs of olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
4 tbs of greek yoghurt
For the Salad:
1 cup of quinoa (tri colour or plain)
11/2 cups of water
Pinch of sea salt
1 tsp of grated orange rind
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
1 bunch of broccolini, ends trimmed and sliced in half lengthways and crossways
1 orange, peel removed, quartered and sliced
1/2 a small red onion, sliced finely top to bottom
For the Dressing:
2 sprigs of mint, leaves removed and stalks discarded
A handful of flat leaf parsley leaves
A handful of coriander leaves
1 tbs of orange rind
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 orange
2 tbs of red wine vinegar
sea salt and cracked pepper
Place the harissa, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Place the chicken fillets in the bowl and toss to coat the chicken (I use my hands to massage the marinade right in). Cover with cling wrap and marinate for 1 hour minimum in the fridge.
Bring the quinoa, water and a pinch of salt to the boil in a large pot. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and pop a lid on. Simmer for 15 minutes and then remove from the heat and rest for 5 minutes. Once rested, add the orange rind and cumin and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
To make the dressing, place the ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Blitz until the herbs are finely chopped and the liquid has emulsified. Set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the broccolini and blanch for 2-3 minutes or until just tender and bright green in colour. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Add the broccolini, orange and red onion to the quinoa but don’t toss until just before serving.
Heat a barbecue plate or heavy based pan to nice and hot. Place the chicken fillets on the plate and cook for approximately 5 minutes either side until nice and charred, then turn the heat right down. If you have a hood on the barbecue, close it, if not then place the chicken in a preheated 180° oven for a further 20 minutes or until cooked through. If using the barbecue, turn the chicken periodically over 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the barbecue and place on a tray to rest for a few minutes.
To serve, spoon half the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Divide the salad between four serving plates and top with two thigh fillets. Dollop on the yoghurt and then spoon the remaining dressing on and around the chicken and salad. If you have any of the cooking juices left from the chicken, drizzle it over as well, it all adds to the flavour. Enjoy!
*Harissa can be found in some supermarkets and Gourmet food and spice shops. If you can’t get it locally then you will definitely be able to purchase it online. Use the link below…..