There are a lot of chilies, pastes, and crazy hot sauces out there that seem to only have one goal in mind: to obliterate your taste buds with nuclear levels of heat. I love spicy food and enjoy layering my dishes with an element of heat, but I can’t get behind spiciness for the sake of spiciness. The goal of good cooking is that every ingredient you put in your food adds something to the balance and flavor profile of your dish. Basically, whatever paste, sauce, or pepper that goes into your food needs to do more than just set your mouth on fire.
Harissa is that rare concoction of both heat and flavor. Harissa is spicy chili paste typically found in middle eastern and north African dishes that’s used in stews, sauces, and condiments. For my Harissa Lemon Chicken recipe, I combined Harissa paste with yogurt, garlic, and lemon for a marinade that’s cool, bright, and, of course, a bit spicy.
Harissa Lemon Chicken
- Juice and Zest of one lemon
- 2 Tablespoons Harissa paste
- 1/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt (I used 2% Fage Greek Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
- Salt and Pepper to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of pepper, but I enjoy the salt as y’all all know)
- chicken breasts or chicken tenders. I used chicken tenders and small chicken breasts (6 pieces of meat total) because that is what I had on hand. This recipe would also work with chicken thighs
- Baking Dish, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray
- Gallon sized Ziploc Bag
- Fork, spoon, or whisk to mix the marinade
1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
2) Stir the Harissa, garlic, lemon juice and zest, yogurt, and olive oil until combined and pour in a Ziploc bag. Add your chicken to your bag and marinate your chicken for 30 minutes.
3) Place your chicken in your baking dish and bake until cooked through and 165 degrees in the thickest part of chicken (my chicken tenders took about 15 minutes to cook).
4) Let your chicken rest for 5 minutes. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or, even better, Tzatziki sauce.
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