|Chicken seasoned from a lemon-cumin marinade, grilled, and served with flavorful Charmoula Sauce|
Every summer, my post about How to Make Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts turns into one of the most popular posts on the blog, and chicken breasts are something I cook far more during grilling season than I do at other times of the year. I'm always looking for ways to make grilled chicken into something special, and when I was flipping through an old cookbook and saw a recipe for Chicken with Charmoula Sauce, I remembered how I loved that sauce on Steamed Green Beans and Carrots. I experimented with a marinade that I thought might bring out some of the lemon and cumin flavors in the Charmoula, and the result was this recipe that several people gobbled up when I tested it.
Charmoula (also spelled Chermoula) is a bit like pesto, in that you can make it to suit your own tastebuds. I love cilantro, so my version uses more cilantro than parsley. If you're not a cilantro fan, you could easily reverse the proportions for those two ingredients and still end up with a very tasty sauce. This Moroccan sauce is supposed to be especially good on fish, so that's probably what I need to try it on next!
Trim chicken breasts; then cut small slits crosswise down each piece. (I tested the recipe with two chicken breasts, but there is probably enough Charmoula sauce and marinade for 4 pieces of chicken.)
Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning to make the marinade.
Put chicken in a Ziploc bag or plastic container with a lid and let it marinate in the fridge for 4-6 hours (or slightly longer is fine.)
Pulse together the chopped herbs, garlic, lemon juice, sweet paprika, and cumin; then add the oil and pulse just until it's combined.
When you're ready to cook the chicken, preheat grill to medium high. Drain marinade and discard. To get those criss-cross grill marks, start by laying the chicken at an angle on the grill grates and cook until the first set of marks is showing.
(Makes enough sauce and marinade for 2-4 chicken breasts; recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Food and Wine's Quick from Scratch Herbs & Spices Cookbook.)
Ingredients for Chicken:
2 - 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
3 T olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning (or use any herb blend that's good on chicken)
Ingredients for Charmoula Sauce:
2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley (flat or curly parsley will work)
1 T + 2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
4 -5 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Trim all fat and undesirable parts from chicken breasts and cut small slits crosswise going down each breast. (This helps the marinade penetrate and the chicken to cook a little faster.) Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, ground cumin, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning to make the marinade. Put chicken pieces inside a Ziploc bag or plastic container with a snap-tight lid, pour marinade over and let chicken marinate in the refrigerator 4-6 hours. (Or all day is fine too if you're not home.) If I'm home I like to turn it over a few times but it's not essential.
To make the Charmoula Sauce, put chopped garlic, chopped cilantro, chopped parsley, lemon juice, sweet paprika, and ground cumin in food process and pulse to combine. Add the 4 T olive oil and pulse just enough to get it mixed in, then taste to see if you want the other tablespoon of oil and add it if you want a milder sauce. (Don't over-process; the mixture will not be smooth.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
When you're ready to grill the chicken, spray clean grill with nonstick grill spray or oil and preheat grill to medium-high. (You can only hold your hand there for a few seconds at that heat.) Let chicken come to room temperature while the grill heats.
To get criss-cross grill marks, lay the chicken top-side down at a diagonal across the grill grates and let it cook until well-defined grill marks are showing, about 3-4 minutes. (I lift up the edge to see the marks.) Turn the chicken so it's going the opposite way at an angle to the grill grates and cook about 3-4 more minutes. Then turn chicken over and cook 4-5 minutes on the second side, or until chicken is firm but not hard to the touch. (Cooking time will depend on how hot the grill is, the temperature of the chicken, thickness of the chicken, and even the temperature outside, so pressing the chicken with a finger or cutting into a piece is the best way to tell when it's done.) Serve chicken hot, with Charmoula Sauce spooned over.
South Beach Suggestions:
Grilled chicken like this is a perfect main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Tasty Ideas with Grilled Chicken:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar from Kalyn's Kitchen
Rosemary Mustard Grilled Chicken or Zucchini from Kalyn's Kitchen
Pineapple Lime Grilled Chicken from The Shiksa in the Kitchen
Peruvian Grilled Chicken from Andrea Meyers
Tequila-Lime Grilled Chicken from Annie's Eats
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)