What better way can you treat yourself than with a healthy meal at the end of a long week?
Lately, I’ve found that a great way to decompress is spending more time cooking! Instead of 20-minute meals on a weeknight, I’ve been enjoying longer stints in the kitchen, building depths of flavor that can be hard to come by in less time.
This recipe, from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, takes some time and effort, but I found the entire cooking process to be meditative. I loved roasting peppers over an open flame, toasting aromatic spices in a skillet, and bringing it all together with a spicy harissa marinade that the chicken soaked up in the refrigerator overnight.
After roasting the chicken the next day, it’s a simple process – segment out some grapefruit and make a sweet and tart grapefruit sauce. Then add all the ingredients over a bed of arugula salad, and voila! So yum and satisfying.
Harissa-Marinated Chicken with Red Grapefruit Salad
from Ottolenghi The Cookbook
1 red bell pepper
1⁄4 tsp coriander seeds
1⁄4 tsp cumin seeds
1⁄4 tsp caraway seeds
1⁄2 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 mild fresh red chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 dried red chile, seeded and coarsely chopped
11⁄2 tsp tomato paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Greek yogurt
13⁄4 lb / 800 g organic or free-range chicken thigh meat (8 to 10 thighs)
Red grapefruit salad
2 red grapefruits
4 oz / 120 g peppery wild arugula
1 tsp olive oil
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2⁄3 cup / 150 ml pink grapefruit juice
generous 1⁄2 cup / 130 ml lemon juice
2⁄3 cup / 150 ml maple syrup
1⁄4 tsp salt
pinch of ground cinnamon
1 star anise
To make the marinade, over the flame on a gas stove top or under a very hot broiler, roast the red pepper until blackened on the outside. This typically takes about 8 minutes on an open flame or 15 to 20 minutes under a very hot broiler. Place the pepper in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave to cool. Peel the pepper and discard the seeds.
Place the coriander, cumin, and caraway seeds in a dry frying pan over low heat and toast lightly for 2 minutes. You should be able to smell the aromas of the spices. Transfer them to a mortar and grind to a powder with a pestle.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic, and fresh and dried chiles, and fry over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, until they turn a dark, smoky color. Now blitz together all the marinade ingredients except the yogurt in a food processor or blender; you will have a pure harissa paste.
To marinate the chicken, mix the paste with the yogurt and use your hands to rub it all over the chicken thighs. Layer them in a plastic container, seal, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, to make the grapefruit salad, take each grapefruit and use a small, sharp knife to slice off the top and tail. Now cut down its sides, following its natural lines, to remove the skin and white pith. Over a small bowl, cut in between the membranes to remove the individual segments. Squeeze any remaining juice into a bowl and keep it to make up the 2⁄3 cup / 150 ml juice required for the sauce.
Preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C. Lay out the marinated chicken pieces, spaced well apart, on a large baking sheet and place in the hot oven. After 5 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350°F / 180°C and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is almost cooked through. Now place the chicken under a hot broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to give it extra color and cook it through completely.
Meanwhile, place all the sauce ingredients in a small pan and bring to a light simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until reduced to one-third.
To serve, toss the arugula and grapefruit segments with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pile in the center of 4 serving plates, put the warm chicken on top, and drizzle about 1 tablespoon of the sauce over each portion.