Housewarming Harissa Chicken and Rice

6 05 2010

Moving house always shakes up the routine.  Starting a few weeks before the move, Nick and I tried to concentrate on eating up what we had in the fridge and pantry, to reduce the amount of stuff that had to be packed as much as possible.  I stopped getting the CSA share for a few weeks, and moved into a kitchen where there was no oven (there is now), a half-size fridge (getting replaced with a big one on Saturday, normalement), and two (only two!!!) induction burners, which have taken some getting used to.

Of course the days surrounding the move were fueled mostly by quick meals, some (Restaurant Raviolis) better than others (Subway).  The morning after we moved, breakfast consisted of green tea and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  I’m telling you that because I think it’s hilarious, and because I think that anyone who’s ever moved a kitchen will understand.  For lunch that day we went to L’As du Fallafel, and dinner was at one of our new neighborhood’s sixty kajillion Indian places.  We had some very simple dinners the next couple of nights – tomato sauce with mushrooms over pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup – but soon the urge to cook came back.

Easy, fresh, and spicy!

It was fueled in part by this recipe for Spicy Citrus Shrimp I saw on The Kitchen Illiterate.  It sounded so easy, quick, and simple, and I’m always looking for excuses to bust out the harissa.  Plus, blood oranges were the weekly special at one of the fruit-and-vegetable shops down the street.  But moving can leave one feeling poor, and shrimp just sounded too rich for my blood.  So chicken it was.  I made a marinade using harissa, blood orange and lemon juice, garlic (my addition), salt, and olive oil.  I made just enough to coat the chicken, plus a little extra for saucy goodness further down the road.  Got some rice going, and grabbed a quick shower while it cooked (oh, the busy lives of Parisian pastry chefs). 

When I came back, cleaned and ready to sauté, I learned something about my new stove: if I try to put two pans on it at once, a) they don’t both fit comfortably, and b) the stove starts pulsing instead of delivering even heat.  I also learned that despite the fact that the control panel goes to 12 (which, by the way, boils a pot of water in under 3 minutes), the maximum total capacity is 20.  That means that if I have one burner on 12, the other can only go up to 8.  Having learned all this in the space of about 30 seconds, I dumped the chicken, sauce and all, in a screaming hot nonstick pan (brand new, because my old one didn’t play well – or at all – with the induction top) and savored the sweet-spicy aromas that came forth.  I added the rice and some baby spinach, stirred it all up, and scooped it into shallow bowls.  Pine nuts and juicy segments of blood orange became garnish.  Nick and I sat down to dinner, accompanied by a glass of something robust and red from the Languedoc, and for the first time since moving, really felt like we were home.

On this day in 2008: An Oasis for Tea

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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11 responses

7 05 2010
Hannah

You know your moving-in breakfast just made me love you even more, right?

So lovely that you were able to have a meal like this really *settle you in*, and it’s quite a looker, too! (And this coming from someone who doesn’t really enjoy pine nuts.)

P.S. Your stovetop makes me giggle, even though I feel I should also offer sympathy. But also, giggling.

7 05 2010
hungry dog

Always an adjustment getting used to a new kitchen, isn’t it? But this turned out just lovely. And anything that contains blood oranges sounds fabulous to me.
Glad you are “home” and settled.

9 05 2010
Lynsey James March

There’s nothing better than getting back to real food after all those quick meal moves! But this looks great, can’t wait to try it myself.

10 05 2010
croquecamille

Hannah – I don’t blame you for giggling. I think it’s pretty funny, too, when I’m not trying to cook two things at once. :P

hungry dog – It is. But I kind of like how it makes me feel that even simple meals are a triumph.

12 05 2010
Tammy McLeod

Congratulations on being home. I also look for opportunities to bust out the Harissa!

12 05 2010
croquecamille

Lynsey – You’re right about that!

Tammy – The more I cook with it, the more surprisingly versatile I find it!

13 05 2010
Ann Mah

Sounds delicious, Camille. I’m fascinated by the induction stove. What kind of pans do you need?

13 05 2010
Trisha

You’re back — and in the kitchen, too! Way to think fast and save your dinner. Yummy sounding harissa marinade, btw — might need to whip a bit up over here to top salmon or shrimp.

14 05 2010
croquecamille

Ann – Generally, most high-quality pans work with it. They have to have a magnetic component, such as stainless steel or cast iron. If there’s aluminum, it has to be of the clad-constructed variety.

Trisha – I think the harissa marinade would be good on just about anything! :)

15 05 2010
Ryan

Oh my, that picture…

Adding another “must make that at home” mental note.

Hope you are doing well!

15 05 2010
croquecamille

Ryan – Thanks! You should definitely try this at home. Things are getting more settled here every day, which is a nice feeling.




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