Harissa-rubbed Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze and Herbed Quinoa
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. harissa
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 t. sea salt
1 1/2 t. fresh cilantro leaves, torn
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground sumac
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Herbed Quinoa (serves 4)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. red quinoa
1 medium shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 c. chicken broth
1 t. fresh thyme leaves
1 T. fresh chives (optional)
2 T. pomegranate molasses
2 T. honey
Fresh baby asparagus or haricots vert, steamed until tender-crisp
2 T. pomegranate rubies
1-2 T. pistachio seeds, slivered (optional)
1. In a medium-sized, shallow dish, whisk together oil, harissa, garlic, salt, cilantro, cinnamon, and sumac. Add chicken breasts and massage spices onto both sides. Cover dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator while preparing quinoa.
2. To prepare quinoa: Heat oil in a medium non-stick saucepan over medium-low heat. When oil starts to thin, add quinoa, shallot, and garlic, and stir to coat. Sweat quinoa mixture for about 5 minutes. (Don’t skip this step; it helps tame the bitter saponin coating the quinoa and enhances the flavor of the grain.)
3. Add broth and thyme to quinoa mixture and stir. Simmer uncovered until almost dry, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand while preparing chicken.
4. To prepare chicken: Heat a medium, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add chicken breasts and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, until almost done. (Breast should still give a little when pressed.)
5. While breasts are cooking, stir together pomegranate molasses and honey. Drizzle over chicken and continue cooking for approximately 2 more minutes on each side. Remove from heat.
6. Uncover quinoa, add chives (if using), and fluff with a fork. Scoop approximately 1/2 c. onto each plate. Lay asparagus or haricots atop quinoa in a criss-cross, then set chicken breast atop vegetables. Garnish with pomegranate rubies and pistachios.