I enjoyed some of the best food of my life in my early twenties, traveling through Morocco. With little money in my pocket, I ate where and what I could afford. I’d cook from the markets with friends I met traveling, or enjoy mint tea and pastries for a treat, or visit the homes of my Moroccan friends where their mothers taught me how to make semolina bread, preserve lemons and cure olives.
Those flavors, rich and aromatic and full, have influenced my cooking since. I love the heady perfume of turmeric, cumin, chiles, dried fruit and fresh herbs. From time-to-time, those rich flavors, reminiscent of North African cooking, find their way to my kitchen where I make dishes inspired by those I tasted – sweetened by dried fruit and redolent of spice.
Grilled Honey Harissa Chicken with Germinated Brown Rice Pilaf
For the Germinated Brown Rice Pilaf
- 4 cups chicken bone broth
- 2 cups germinated brown rice
- 2 tablespoons finely ground sea salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 yellow onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons orange peel finely grated
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pistachios
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup dried goji berries
- 1/4 cup sultanas
- 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
For the Honey Harissa Chicken
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 lemon
- 3 chicken breasts
Make the Rice
- Pour the broth into a 2-quart saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice and salt. Drop in the cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Turn down the temperature to low, cover, and simmer the rice until cooked through and tender, about 25 minutes. Pluck out the cinnamon stick and bay leaves out of the rice, and uncover. Drain away any excess liquid.
- While the rice cooks, melt the ghee in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the chopped onion and saute until translucent, about 6 minutes. Stir in the orange zest, honey, cumin and turmeric and continue cooking another 2 minutes.
- Stir the seasoned onions into the rice, and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Stir in the parsley, pistachios, almonds, goji berries, sultanas and cranberries. Serve with Honey Harissa Chicken (below).
Make the Chicken
- Preheat the grill to 450F.
- While the rice cooks, whisk honey, harissa paste, ginger, salt, turmeric, black pepper and lemon together in a small bowl until it forms a smooth paste.
- Take the chicken breasts and slice a 2-inch slit into the meat to form a pocket. Spoon about a tablespoon of the paste into the slit of each chicken breast, then brush the remaining paste over the tops of the chicken.
- Grill the chicken for 25 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 170F. Serve over Germinated Brown Rice Pilaf.