If you’re like me, always looking for a new way to serve chicken, you are going to love this Chicken with Harissa Yogurt Sauce and Pistachios. Based on Mediterranean flavor profiles, this dinner will tantalize your taste buds and stimulate your creativity. You’ll swear you are sitting by the sea, basking in the sun and smelling the salt in the air.
Oregano seasoned the chicken, cilantro and garlic are in the homemade harissa, and parsley and garlic are in the yogurt sauce. The pistachios add a lovely crunchiness and texture. All of these combine into a burst of delightful flavor with every single bite!
When you think of hot sauce, you probably envision bottles of Tabasco or Sriracha. Those and hundreds of others are readily available in grocery stores across America. But in the countries of North Africa, their condiment of choice is harissa.
Harissa is a spicy chile-garlic paste found in many North African cuisines. It is used as rub or marinade before cooking, and as a condiment to add brightness to a wide variety of foods. In its original form it is scalding hot, but by making your own you can control the heat level. For The Artist and me, a medium heat level is perfect so I chose to make ours with chipotle and New Mexican chiles. I love the smoky heat chipotles add – almost as if you had used the grill to cook the chicken, which is also an option.
In this recipe the heat of the harissa is balanced by blending it with yogurt. In addition to this recipe, you can use the harissa mixture to season any meat, toss it with vegetables, use it as a spread on sandwiches, or as the base for crostini appetizers. It is a wonderful way to spice up mundane meals!
The Artist was extra hungry when I was making dinner so I hurried and skipped pulling out my food processor. As a result I didn’t get as smooth a paste as I wanted and the final sauce broke a bit instead of being silky smooth. The flavor was rich and well balanced, but for the most attractive presentation, pureeing the sauce ingredients is the way to go. Learn from my mistake!
I hope you make this Chicken with Harissa Yogurt Sauce and Pistachios soon. If you do, come on back and let us know how it turned out! Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here in a couple of days for Chocolate Monday!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
A food processor or blender is the right tool to puree the sauce to its silky best.
For the most part this is naturally gluten-free with only a couple that you need to watch out for – prepared harissa paste if you’re not making your own, and chicken broth can sometimes have gluten added. Always read the labels carefully and contact the manufacturer if you have any questions.
Chicken with Harissa Yogurt Sauce and Pistachios (Gluten Free)
- 3 tsp Homemade Smoky Harissa (recipe follows) or prepared harissa paste (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 cup unflavored Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp finely minced parsley
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- Grated zest of 1 small orange or 2 tangerines
- Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves or 8 boneless thighs
- 1 tbsp organic olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Drizzle of organic olive oil
- About 1 cup coarsely chopped salted pistachios
- Chopped chives and/or green onions, optional
- Make the Harissa-Yogurt Sauce: Make the harissa paste from the recipe below. In the bowl of a food processor or mixing bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Mix until smooth. Set aside to blend flavors for at least 15 minutes or in the refrigerator up to overnight. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Refrigerate, covered, if not serving immediately.
- Prepare the Chicken: In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth and oregano; set aside.
- In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted and the oil is bubbling, add the chicken pieces, skin-side down. Cook without moving for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Use tongs to flip the chicken, pour in the seasoned broth and cook the second side until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers 155°F to 160°F. Remove the chicken from the pan and set on a plate; tent with foil and let rest while you finish the sauce.
- Finish the Sauce: Remove the skillet from the heat and spoon out all but about 1 tbsp of the fat. Slowly add the Harissa-Yogurt sauce to the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits which are pure flavor! Whisk until lightly warmed and pan juices have been incorporated. There is plenty of residual heat in the pan to warm it through. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. If the sauce is too tart, add a pinch of sugar
- To Serve: Place cooked chicken on each warmed plate. Spoon some of the sauce over the each serving and sprinkle the top with the pistachios and parsley.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 972Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 38gCholesterol: 445mgSodium: 1869mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 106g
Homemade Smoky Harissa Paste (Gluten Free)
- 3 dried chipotle chiles
- 5 dried New Mexico chiles
- 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 5 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp organic olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 to 2 tsp mined garlic
- 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Prepare the Chiles: Cut the stems off and pull out the seeds. Cut lengthwise and press open. Scrape out any remaining seeds. Discard stems and seeds. Cut chiles into large chunks (scissors work well) and place in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and set aside to soak for 30 minutes or until softened.
- Make the Harissa: Drain the chiles, discarding the water. Place chiles in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cilantro, cumin, mint and oil. Pulse several times and then hold "on" to fully puree the mixture. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides. Process until completely smooth. Add the salt, garlic, lemon zest and juice. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Transfer the paste to a sterilized 2-cup canning jar, compressing it slightly and smoothing the top. Pour in enough olive oil to completely cover by about 1/4-inch. This will help preserve the harissa.
- Cover and refrigerate, adding more oil after each use so that the top is always protected. Harissa paste will hold up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 61Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 367mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g
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