Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Harissa-marinated chicken with tzatziki and quinoa tabouli

While watching Top Chef episode 6 (the tailgating episode), one contestant described a dish that made me sit up in my seat. Specifically, *looks up at the title of this post* harissa-marinated chicken with tzatziki and quinoa tabouli. This is EXACTLY the sort of thing I like to cook! However, I know that the recipes on Bravo's website are often unreliable, so I figured I'd just take the concept and wing it on my own.

Ohhh man was this ever good! I loved the contrast of the fiery, smokey chicken with the cool cucumber/yogurt sauce. The quinoa tabouli was the perfect accompaniment.

I kind of improvised a mock harissa with stuff I had in the house. I used about 3 ounces of Thai chili-garlic paste, a jarred roasted red bell pepper, a tablespoon of ancho chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp cardamom, and a glug of olive oil. Whirred it in the blender til smooth, added S&P to taste, and I had a yummy and VERY spicy condiment. I threaded chicken breast chunks onto skewers, marinated it while the coals heated up, then had my husband grill it to perfection.

For the tzatziki, I combined fat free Greek yogurt, lemon juice, seeded cucumber (half grated, half diced), fresh mint, fresh dill, and plenty of salt and pepper.

The quinoa tabouli gave me the opportunity to use some of the fresh vegetables from the farmer's market. I picked up some fresh onions, vine-ripened tomatoes, and curious little Armenian cucumbers. I cooked a cup of quinoa in vegetable broth, then mixed it with a small onion, 2 cukes, 2 tomatoes, and all the flat-leaf parsley and mint I had (I like TONS of herbs in my tabouli). Finished it off with EVOO, lemon juice, salt, and lots and lots of pepper.


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