Harissa Chicken With Rice Pilaf

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The star of this recipe is harissa, a spicy condiment with roots in Africa. It’s mainly composed of hot red pepper, cumin, garlic and caraway, but there are variations. You can buy it in a jar at the grocery store and use just a bit to flavor many dishes.

Harissa Chicken With Rice Pilaf

1 cup basmati (or brown) rice

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Olive oil

1 small shallot, peeled and quartered

1 zucchini

Handful asparagus stalks

⅓ cup raisins

3 tablespoons harissa

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 lime, cut into wedges

Cook rice in a medium saucepan according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add oil to skillet and, when hot, add chicken. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

Prep the ingredients for rice pilaf. Mince shallot. Small dice the zucchini. Cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Roughly chop raisins.

When rice is just shy of being done, transfer to a microwavable bowl. Immediately add shallot, zucchini, asparagus and raisins. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes. Set aside, leaving it covered with the plastic wrap.

Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks and return to skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, plus harissa and cinnamon. Stir to coat the chicken with the seasonings, cooking for just a minute or so to warm through.

Serve chicken with rice pilaf, topped with almonds and cilantro, and limes on the side.

Serves 4.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times