First off, I'm not a huge fan of chicken. This recipe was great though. I have the Food & Wine cookbook that contains this recipe and I have been admiring the charmoula for a long time. I was not disappointed. I thought the charmoula was AWESOME. I am a little grossed out by regular chicken breasts, so I trimmed them well and then decided to pound them a bit to make them thinner. This worked exceptionally well. The breasts were juicy and tasted great. I put a little more salt, pepper, and paprika on them before cooking as I like strong flavors. I served this with rice, but it would probably go better with couscous or even sweet potatoes.
Chicken Breasts with Charmoula
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/3 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, plus 8 sprigs (optional) for garnish
- 1/3 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 7 tablespoons olive oil
- Grated zest of half an orange
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Fresh-ground black pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds in all)
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced (optional)
- 1. In a small frying pan, toast the 1 tablespoon paprika with the cumin over low heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Put in a blender and puree with the garlic, cilantro leaves, parsley, 6 tablespoons of the oil, the orange zest, lemon juice, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Leave in the blender.
- 2. Put 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick frying pan over moderate heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Brown 5 minutes. Turn; cook until just done, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Blend the sauce to re-emulsify; serve over the chicken. Sprinkle with the tomatoes and top with the cilantro sprigs.
- Wine Recommendation: A white with a bit of sweetness, like an Oregon pinot gris, will play off the spicy sauce nicely.
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