Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Easy Harissa Chicken (includes Thermomix instructions)

This is so simple, it's barely a recipe at all - unless you make your own harissa paste!

However, it was a part of an all in one dish which I posted - the rest of which happened to be vegan, hence I thought I'd post the chicken part separately! And if you do want to make a manageable amount of harissa paste just for this recipe, you could do worse than check here for a recipe from my good man!


However, it's not quite so easy when you make the own, so you can cheat and use a ready made one if you like - I used 'Al'fez' brand for this easy version (as it has no artificial ingredients), which is widely available, to test out how hot it was - don't worry, it won't blow your brains out, but it is, of course a little spicy. So my apologies, this isn't really a recipe (or not what I'd class as one), but it was part of a bigger dish and delicious on top of my spiced Puy lentil and tomato stew/'mélange' (from 171 calories per portion) served with steamed green beans (add 23 calories per portion for an 80g serving each). Serve it with anything you fancy - something Middle Eastern would be good - if you're going along with the 'easy' theme, cous cous is very quick and easy to prepare - add vegetable stock, serve with a nice big salad. My salad Shirazi with pomegranate seeds would be a delicious side to this too, and it's only 38 calories a portion!

Serves two, easily doubled (of course!). 173 calories per serving, if you're counting. [Calories in square brackets]

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 130g each [286]
1 tbsp harissa (or more to taste) [29]
2 tbsp plain yoghurt (you could leave out the yoghurt if you're intolerant to dairy. I used Yeo Valley Organic) [25]
Fine sea salt
About 1 tsp (mild) smoked paprika [6]

Mix together the harissa paste and yoghurt with a good pinch of salt, add the chicken breasts to it and coat thoroughly. Set aside while you prepare any other ingredients. If you're being organised, you could always do this an hour or two in advance.

You can cook this any way you like, really, but in this instance I chose steaming, which keeps it lovely and moist. If you want to griddle, grill it or barbecue it, I'd recommend butterflying it first (see here, if you want to know how to do this), so it's a nice even shape and cooks evenly. It won't take as long using these methods if you've butterflied it.

If you take a square of greaseproof baking paper, scrumple it up and wet it (then squeeze out any excess water), it's a great base to steam things which keeps your steamer from being covered in sauces and juices (especially if it's difficult to clean). Just make sure you don't flatten it completely and leave some space for the steam to come through.

So, put your dampened greaseproof paper in the steamer tray, leaving space around the edges for the steam to come through, place the chicken on top, and sprinkle with the smoked paprika (Thermomix instructions - now see below).

Put some water on to boil in your pan (or turn your steamer on). Once your water is boiling, add the basket with chicken in it, and steam for 18 to 25 minutes until it is cooked through (this is going to depend on the shape of your chicken, and what kind of steamer you're using). If you have a digital themometer, check the thickest part at 18 minutes (or before, if they appear to be becoming more compact) and if it is 70C, it's done. If not, you can always make a cut into the thickest part and check it's cooked through.

If you'd like to serve with green beans (French / fine green beans), add them to the steamer 10 minutes before the end. Enjoy!

Thermomix instructions (continued from after the photo above - start from the begining)
Place the chicken into the top Varoma tray on scrunched up wet greaseproof paper, as in the photo above (if you are cooking with green beans, they will go into the bottom tray, 10 minutes before the end - you may wish to set the timer accordingly!).

Put 1 litre of (cold) water into the jug, put the lid on, and place the Varoma on top. Set Thermomix to steam for 22 minutes / Varoma temperature / Speed 3 (or 12 minutes, add beans to bottom, then a further 10 minutes). Check the chicken is cooked through, and serve! If you're serving on top of rice, or some other grains, pour the juices which have collected in the greaseproof paper over it for extra flavour.

Or, see here, for my all-in-one Thermomix meal instructions to serve with my spicy Puy lentil and tomato mélange with fresh herbs and the steamed green beans.


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