This recipe has typical North African flare because it incorporates the subtle heat with the sweet and savory flavors. What makes this meal most impressive is the use of pantry ingredients. I was ready to go to the store to get what I needed for the dish when I realized I had everything already. That gets an “A” in my book.
This dish looks slightly similar to my Florida Keys-Style Citrus Chicken and my Moroccan Chicken with Lentils found in my Eat-Clean Anniversary post. Despite appearances, they all have their unique flavor that sets the apart from one another.
Paillards are simply cuts of meat (poultry, beef, pork) that are flattened so they cook quickly. If you have a meat mallet, go wild, but I’m always a fan of the skillet. A few whacks with the skillet and the chicken is evenly flattened. Make sure to place plastic wrap on top of and below the chicken first so you don’t spray your kitchen with chicken juice. You’ll end up having to disinfect your entire kitchen. And that’s no fun.
Upon my first bite, the orange and honey flavor immediately popped while the paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes gave it even more personality. This isn’t your typical chicken dish. Although it’s simple to prepare, your mouth is going to burst with flavor. If you’re not too crazy about the heat, avoid the red pepper flakes. If you LOVE heat, throw in some more. The recipe didn’t call for a garnish, but I added some dill to give it some color. I then served the chicken with my all-time favorite Trader Joe’s Grains Harvest Blend (Israeli-style couscous, orzo, red quinoa and baby garbanzo beans).
Be ready to get whisked away to Northern Africa in minutes!
North African Grilled Chicken Paillards
Source: Mildly adapted from Blue Kitchen
1/4 cup orange juice (fresh is best!)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (If you do not have an outdoor grill, you will need 3 Tbs. but keep 1 Tbs. separated.)
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
salt to taste
Preheat your grill. If you don’t have a grill, ignore this step, duh.
Chicken: Make sure that your chicken is rid of any fat. Then place each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and on top of a cutting board. Pound with meat mallet or skillet until 1/4 inch thick.
Sauce: Simmer all of the sauce ingredients except for the butter in a small saucepan, uncovered for 2 minutes. Stir occasionally. Set aside.
Spiced Oil: Cook cumin, paprika and pepper in oil in a small skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer spiced oil to a small bowl, reserving skillet for sauce. Do not wash the skillet.
If you are using an indoor grill pan, preheat it to medium high and add 1 Tbs. olive oil.
Brush the cumin-spiced oil on each side of the chicken. Season with salt and place on grill. Grill 2 minutes, then turn over and cook until it is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes more.
Pour sauce through a mesh sieve into reserved small skillet, discarding solids. Bring to a boil. Add butter and gently stir until butter is just incorporated. Season sauce with salt and spoon over chicken. Serve.