This Mediterranean Chicken Dinner utilizes a variety of Mediterranean seasonings and American techniques to create a delicious cross-over meal that my family loved. Each bite has alluring flavors, intriguing and tempting you to take bite after bite. Before you know it, all the chicken is gone and you are longing for more!
A touch of spice from harissa powder (not the paste), robust cumin, haunting saffron, sumac with its bright, citrus flavor, and the warmth of cardamom and allspice all combine for a meal that will have your guests wondering how you made it and begging for the recipe.
Most of the seasonings you probably already have but some may be new to you. They are really fun to play with and favorites of the best chefs in the country. Give them a try and you may be surprised how they can enhance a bunch of your tried and true recipes, giving them a little flavor boost.
I rarely measure ingredients when I am cooking – unlike baking where I am very careful – and I have included the approximate measurements for the seasonings as a starting point. I lightly sprinkled them onto the chicken. Please add them to your personal taste and feel free to leave something out if you don’t like it or don’t want to make a special run to the grocery store. Remember, recipes are just guidelines, you make them your own with your creativity.
Couscous is often the traditional choice to accompany Mediterranean meals but I used rice for a gluten-free alternative. Adding a touch of saffron gives the rice a beautiful golden hue and lovely delicate floral notes. I also added a little cardamom and allspice to enhance the Mediterranean flavors and create the perfect bed for your chicken.
Enjoy a virtual trip to the warmth of North Africa and nearby countries with each bite of this Mediterranean Chicken Dinner! Have a fabulous weekend, I hope you have fun plans!
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Key Ingredients for Mediterranean Chicken Dinner:
- Rice: long grain white rice, salt, butter, saffron, cardamom, allspice
- Chicken: boneless, skinless chicken thighs, olive oil, paprika, harissa powder, cumin, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, sumac
- Accompaniments: parsley, green vegetables like broccoli, beans, zucchini, etc.
Recipes are guidelines, feel free to adjust them to suit your own personal tastes. If your family doesn’t like spicy foods, you can leave out the harissa seasoning (or use less).
Sumac may be one seasoning that you aren’t used to seeing in recipes. I learned about it from Anthony Bourdain and instantly fell in love. It has a piquant citrusy flavor that makes everything taste better. Used extensively in Mediterranean cooking, it is a fun spice to have in your arsenal. It may not be in your local grocers, but you can buy it from WholeSpice.com.
How to make Mediterranean Chicken Dinner:
- Prepare the rice according to package directions adding saffron, cardamom, and allspice to the water before cooking; when done, rake the grains with two forks to break up any clumps and distribute the saffron
- Heat oil in the skillet and add the chicken in a single layer; sprinkle with the seasonings and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes
- An instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of the chicken needs to read at least 165°F
- Scoop portions of rice into bowls or plates and top with two pieces of the chicken; sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with green vegetables
Saffron is quite expensive, but you buy it in very small quantities and use a pinch or two at a time as it is fairly potent. It also imparts a beautiful golden color that makes your meal beautiful. If you can’t find it or want a less expensive alternative, you can use a little turmeric in its place. You won’t get the beautiful flavor of saffron, but your rice will be a gorgeous yellow color.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Medium saucepan with a lid
- Large skillet
- Instant read thermometer
- Serving bowls
Be sure you use spices that are guaranteed gluten-free. If you are in doubt, contact the manufacturer to check their processing practices and safety checks.
You can adjust any recipe to gluten-free by using 120 grams per cup of my favorite gluten-free flour blend. If you are using another brand of gluten-free flour, whisk the mix, spoon it lightly into a measuring cup until mounded, level off the top with a straight edge, and weigh the flour left in the cup. Use that weight as your standard per cup of that specific flour. Commercial blends such as Pamela’s, Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1, or King Arthur Measure for Measure are all good choices.
Mediterranean Chicken Dinner (Gluten Free)
This Mediterranean Chicken Dinner utilizes a variety of Mediterranean seasonings and American techniques to create a delicious cross-over meal that my family loves. Each bite has alluring flavors, intriguing, and tempting you to take another and another bite. Before you know it all the chicken is gone and you are longing for more!
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp butter, optional
- Pinch saffron threads
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 3 tbsp olive oil (helps create a pan sauce for the chicken)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 to 1 tsp Harissa powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp sumac
- Chopped parsley
- Green vegetables such as broccoli, beans, zucchini, etc.
- Cook the Rice: Place the rice, water, salt, and butter in a medium saucepan. Stir the saffron, cardamom, and allspice into the water and cook as directed on the package. When done, rake the rice with two forks to break up any clumps and to distribute the saffron.
- Prepare the Chicken: While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken pieces leaving room between each. Sprinkle with the seasonings, cook over medium-high heat until cooked through, showing 165°F on an instant read thermometer inserted in the center, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- To Serve: Scoop a portion of rice onto each plate and top with two pieces of the chicken. Sprinkle the top with parsley, add green vegetables, and serve immediately.
- Recipe found at www.theheritagecook.com
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 624Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 281mgSodium: 1832mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 60g
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Yummmmmmy! Thanks for sharing, I will cook it this week!
Hi Kathy, thanks for your kind words. I hope you love this meal as much as we did!