Thursday, 22 February 2007

Harissa-spiced chicken with bulghar

First of all, an explanation for my absence. The whole family have been hit by a rather unpleasant virus which left us unable to face food if you catch my drift.... We are just coming out the other side, and to be honest, I'm still not feeling like cooking anything too rich or fancy.

This recipe is from March's Good Food Magazine. I don't usually buy foodie mags but thought I'd give a couple a whirl to get some more inspiration. I think I may think about getting a subscription to one eventually, once I find the one that fits my "groove"!

It was the bulghar wheat in this that made me decide to try it out. My mum is from the Middle East, so pulses and grains are a staple ingredient in all their food. When I was growing up she didn't have access to these sort of ingredients so for a long time I didn't get the chance to eat her wonderful Middle Eastern cooking. Nowadays bulghar wheat, black lentils and chick peas are found virtually anywhere....

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 tbsp harissa paste
4 skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, sliced
2 tbsp pine nuts
A handful of ready to eat apricots
300g/10 oz bulghar wheat
600ml/ 1 pt hot chicken stock
Handful of coriander leaves, chopped

Rub the harissa paste over the chicken.
Heat the oil in a deep non stick pan then fry the chicken for about 3 mins on each side until golden. Remove and set aside
Add the onions and fry gently for 5 mins. Tip in the pine nuts and continue cooking for another few mins until toasted.
Tip in the apricots, bulghar and stock and cover. Cook for about 10 mins until the stock is almost disolved
Return the chicken to the pan re-cover and cook for 5 mins on a low heat until the liqued has been absorbed and the chicken is cooked through.
Fluff up the bulghar with a fork and scatter with the coriander to serve

My chicken pieces needed a bit longer to cook through (after the last week, I didn't want to chance anything!). I added a clove of garlic and some middle eastern spices but it would have been just as nice without. I'll be making this again as everyone devoured it!


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