Friday, 26 October 2012

Friday quickie and more Harissa

This Friday quickie is again a faux Friday dish, as it was cooked earlier this week. Currently I'm away in Norwich for a work thingy, unable to enjoy a Friday quickie. Although it also gave me an excuse not to go to Friday evening bootcamp, so I guess there is something good with the bad. Of course I would rather be home on my sofa slouching right now. 

This is part three in my triptych of recipes specifically aimed at using up the jar of Harissa I have in my fridge to prevent it from becoming one of those things you find in a few months at the back of the fridge growing new life forms. The two other recipes are Moroccan soups, one with chickpeas and quinoa and the other with cauliflower and roasted garlic

Recently I have mostly been cooking chicken legs and thighs as the majority of my cooking has been done in the slow cooker. Breast fillets easily go a bit dry if prepared that way, although I'm sure there are great recipes for chicken breast fillets in the slow cooker as well, just need to bring down the cooking time a bit. But roasted in the oven like this, they are delicious and a very healthy alternative. This recipe has no added fat or sugar and is high in protein and low in fat. Tomatoes also have a carotenoid called lycopene which has been shown to possibly be linked with reduced risk of certain types of cancer. Obviously, the data is far from conclusive, but be it this way or that, at least tomatoes are low in fat and sugar, have lots of good micronutrients such as vitamines. And of course they taste absolutely divine, and make this a beautiful, colourful dish. The recipe is from BBC Good Food.

Harissa roasted chicken (serves 4):
4 chicken breast fillets
2 tsp Harissa paste
1 tbsp oregano
(olive oil, salt, pepper)
300 g cherry tomatoes
olives (I used a 200 g can of lemon stuffed green olives)

The howto:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Food really can't get much easier or quicker than this. Put the chicken fillets in a roasting tin, and rub with Harissa paste and oregano. If you want to, drizzle olive oil on top and season with salt and pepper. I didn't add any of either as I thought the olives would be salty enough and the pepper wouldn't taste very much through the Harissa. Cook for about 10 minutes. The original recipe says to cover with foil, but as you could probably guess, I couldn't be bothered to do that. Add olives and tomatoes, and roast for another 10 minutes. Serve with a green salad, or my new favourite, cauliflower and broccoli mash. Which is simply steamed cauliflower and broccoli blended with a knob of butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. Absolutely delicious!

The verdict:
I always tend to over cook chicken breasts. And although it's important to make sure chicken is cooked through, breasts don't need more than 15-20 minutes in the oven so keep an eye on them. There is a bit of fluids leaking from the olives and tomatoes, so the chicken was cooking in those lovely juices keeping it nice and moist. The harissa brings quite a kick to the chicken and roasted cherry tomatoes get a wonderful sweet flavour. This is truly fast food suitable for any quick dinner. It's also great for the lunchbox, I made four servings and packed in single serving Tupperware to take along to work. 

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