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Chicken with Chermoula and Radish Quinoa Tabbouleh

 When I spied this blog post on The Cook Who Knew Nothing, I knew I had to make it. It felt like a great excuse to try out some new ingredients like preserved lemons, pomegranate molasses and baharat spice which are all things that I think about buying but don't because I am not sure what to do with them. North African cuisine is still very unfamiliar to me and I am just really starting to learn about Middle Eastern food this year. There are enough familiar flavours in this food that it feels like something I know but, at the same time, with these kicks of either new tastes or new combinations of spices that I wouldn't normally put together. I can't wait to try this chermoula with some fish and perhaps next time, I will up the chili and make it a bit hotter but otherwise, I wouldn't change a thing at this point. The chicken was just as good over the next couple of days either over rice or in a pita as a sort of shwarma like sandwich with some tahini sauce, pickled turnips, red onion and siracha.

I made a few small changes, as always and fell in love with both of them. Actually, I have made this salad almost every day since the first time I made it and will continue to do so until somebody yells at me. The quinoa in place of the bulgar wheat really works for me because I am not crazy about the texture of bulgur and because quinoa is a complete protein, I can eat just the salad for dinner and feel like I am having all of my needs met without feeling like I have to add meat to my plate. Any excuse for me to throw in some of my persian picked turnip is always welcome and it was a great addition to an already delicious salad.

Reno helped out with the bbq, of course

For me, chermoula is like the North African step sister to chimichurri, no? LOVE LOVE LOVE the preserved lemon and plan to throw some into everything from now on. Next up is a batch of preserved lemons but I am lucky enough to live in a city with plenty of Lebanese and Persian grocers where you can buy them by weight along with the pickled things so for now, I am happy to just buy them along with my pickled turnips and hot peppers.

 Chicken with Charmoula

adapted from The Cook Who Knew Nothing

6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 bunch italian parsley, chopped
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
hot chili to taste (I used about a 1/2" piece of the hot orange chili I had in the fridge)
1 1/2 small preserved lemon, seed removed, chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of two lemons
1 tbls ground cumin
1 tbls ground coriander
pinch kosher salt

Put everything BUT the chicken thighs in a food processor and pulse until you have a mildly chunky paste, kind of like pesto. I don't like it totally pureed.

Put the thighs into a glass or other non reactive container and cover with the paste, tossing the chicken around until you are sure all the meat is completely coated with it. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour, at least, but overnight is best.

Heat your grill to med high (we use a charcoal grill but if gas is your thing, use that) and remove the thighs, shaking off any excess marinade and cook them for about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove and set aside and let them sit for five minutes before serving.

Radish Quinoa Tabbouleh

1 bunch mint, chopped
1 big handful of cilantro, chopped
approx 5 or 6 good sized radishes sliced thin using a mandolin
about 4 baby cucumbers, sliced thin on the mandolin (1 large english cucumber if you can't find the baby cukes)
1 scallion sliced thinly
1/4 cup pickled turnip, sliced thinly
hot chili to taste (again, I used about 1/2" chunk of the chili I had)
1 cup cooked, cooled quinoa
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 tbls pomegranate molasses
1 tsp *baharat spice mix
salt to taste

Make the dressing in a big bowl. Throw in the salad stuff and mix it all together in a big bowl. That's it.

*baharat spice

1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cardamom pods
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg

place all the ingredients in a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder and grind finely

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