Spicy and a little sweet, this is a meal for two that requires little chopping and prep. It’s a beautiful date night (no pun intended) meal for the novice cook looking to impress ;).
Serve it over polenta, as I have here, or mashed Yukon potatoes. The total active cooking time for the chicken is about 15 minutes, so I recommend getting the polenta or mashed potatoes going before you begin prep for cooking the chicken (unless you’re using instant polenta). Even more fool-proof, simply serve with a hunk of crusty bread and a side salad.
Harissa and Date Pan Chicken
2 boneless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise, against the grain
1 1/2 tablespoons (a.k.a. 4 1/2 teaspoons) harissa paste
1/2 tablespoon (a.k.a. 1 1/2 teaspoons) avocado oil or olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 beefsteak tomato, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 medjool date or 3 deglet noor dates, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/4 cup picked fresh parsley, minced
salt and black pepper, to taste
Marinate the chicken in harissa paste 30 minutes or up to overnight.
Heat a large pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Toss the marinated chicken with the oil and sear in pan, about 5 minutes.
Flip chicken thighs and arrange in a concentric circle towards the edges of the pan. Add garlic, tomato, and dates to the middle of the pan and cook, tossing frequently, for about 5 minutes while the chicken sears.
Reduce heat to medium and begin to toss the chicken with the tomatoes, which should be breaking down. Add sherry vinegar, parsley, salt, and a couple grinds of black pepper and cook an additional 5-6 minutes, until the thighs are cooked through and the tomato has fully broken down.
Serve over polenta or mashed potatoes and be sure to include some sautéed greens or a leafy green salad to make it a complete meal.