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Harissa Chicken are grilled chicken breasts that have been marinated with a harissa rub of paprika, chipotle chilies, adobo sauce and cumin then served with a refreshing cilantro salad. Great alone or used as taco filling or the base for spicy chicken salad!

Harissa Chicken with Cilantro Salad

Before jumping to the recipe, check out the HELPFUL RECIPE TIPS in the post. I hope you’ll find them useful and will love this recipe!

Harissa Chicken are grilled chicken breasts that have been marinated with a harissa rub of chipotle chilies, adobo sauce and spices then served with a refreshing cilantro salad. Great alone, as taco filling or base for a spicy chicken salad!

Harissa Chicken are grilled chicken breasts that have been marinated with a harissa rub of chipotle chilies, adobo sauce and spices then served with a refreshing cilantro salad.

Can you ever really have too many chicken recipes? Not when you are adding Harissa Chicken with a side of cilantro salad to the list. Around our house we use chicken for just about every meat recipe and nobody minds. The guys are happy as long as there is food on the table, it tastes good and there’s lots of it.

There was the usual suspicion when I put up on the menu board the first time that we were having Harissa Chicken, but that completely went out the window when the amazing smell of this chicken cooking came from the grill.

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SPICES IN HARISSA CHICKEN RUB

Smoked Paprika – regular paprika is made from dried crushed chilis. Smoked Paprika gets it’s strong smoky flavor from smoking the the same type of peppers before they are crushed. Oak wood is often used for the smoking.

Chipotles in Adobo Sauce – Chipotles are fully ripened jalapeno peppers that are dried and smoked. Adobo sauce is a tangy and slightly sweet red sauce that chipotles are canned with. The result is a tasty sauce with less fiery heat than the chipotle peppers.

Cumin – a nutty, earthy tasting spice with citrus undertones. One of the most used spices in the world, cumin is common in Mexican and Indian cooking.

Harissa Chicken are grilled chicken breasts that have been marinated with a harissa rub of paprika, chipotle chilies, adobo sauce and cumin then served with a refreshing cilantro salad. Great alone or used as taco filling or the base for spicy chicken salad!

Back in the day, I used to be intimidated by the produce department. I didn’t know much about herbs so I would buy those over-priced little packets of fresh herbs. Then one day, I met a local young chef  as we were both grabbing for the last pint of blueberries and we got to talking. (they don’t call me a chatty Cathy for nothin).  

Anyway, because of him I worked up enough confidence to buy the fresh cut herbs like the cilantro in this recipe and really start to use them. So, the moral of this story is to ask questions because you never know what you will learn.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine.

Harissa Chicken are grilled chicken breasts that have been marinated with a harissa rub of paprika, chipotle chilies, adobo sauce and cumin then served with a refreshing cilantro salad. Great alone or used as taco filling or the base for spicy chicken salad!

HOW LONG SHOULD HARISSA CHICKEN MARINATE?

You should allow the chicken to marinade for at least 3 hours to get the full effect of the flavors. Besides the awesome taste, what really surprised me was how tender the chicken became. When I was grilling I kept thinking that the chicken wasn’t done because it was still so juicy.

HOW TO MAKE CILANTRO SALAD

Cilantro is a delicious alternative to lettuce. It’s not the usual lettuce for the greens, but you will not regret making a cilantro salad. It’s sold in big, affordable bunches at most grocery stores. A bite of the chicken with the salad will really make you think you have gone to a fine Mexican restaurant.

Make the salad:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the chilies, onion, cilantro and tomatoes.
  2. Top with dressing and toss.
  3. Let the salad stand for 10 minutes to marinade and soften before serving. Done.
Harissa Chicken are grilled chicken breasts that have been marinated with a harissa rub of chipotle chilies, adobo sauce and spices then served with a refreshing cilantro salad.

TOOLS TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

Click on the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.

  • Barbecue Tongs – to flip the grilling chicken without burning your hands. There’s a handy built-in stand to keep your work surface clean!
  • Outdoor Gas Grill – feel like a grilling pro with this beauty!
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Harissa Chicken

  • Prep Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Description

Harissa Chicken are grilled chicken breasts that have been marinated with a Harissa rub of paprika, chipotle chilies, adobo sauce and cumin then served with a refreshing cilantro salad. Great alone or used as taco filling or the base for spicy chicken salad!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP smoked paprika
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, minced fine plus 1 tsp adobo sauce
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally
  • 2 Anaheim chiles
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 TBSP Italian dressing or vinagrette

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine paprika, chipotle, adobo sauce, garlic, cumin and olive oil and crush with the back of a spoon until a paste forms. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the harissa all over the chicken, reserving 1 tsp harissa for later. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  2. Over medium-high heat (375°F), grill the chilies until charred all over. Place the chilies in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes. Peel, seed and chop the chilies into bite-size pieces.
  3. Transfer the chilies into a medium bowl and add the onion, tomatoes, cilantro, Itialian dressing and 1 tsp harissa. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, grill the chicken breasts over medium-high heat (375°F), turning until cooked thru, about 10 minutes or have reached 165°F on meat thermometer when inserted in thickest part of chicken. Serve the chicken with the salad.

Notes

For more intense harissa flavor, marinate chicken breasts overnight.

Oven cooking – preheat oven to 375°F. Place chicken on a greased, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until chicken reaches 165°F when meat thermometer is inserted in thickest part of chicken.

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Harissa Chicken are grilled chicken breasts that have been marinated with a harissa rub of paprika, chipotle chilies, adobo sauce and cumin then served with a refreshing cilantro salad. Great alone or used as taco filling or the base for spicy chicken salad!

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