The Hippo


Mar 21, 2018








Israeli spiced chicken

Courtesy Rachel Ray for the Food Network
1 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling 
For the spice rub: Combine the paprika, cumin, oregano, coriander, pepper flakes and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly. 
Place the chicken in a shallow dish and drizzle with olive oil, just enough to lightly coat the chicken. Rub the chicken liberally with the spice rub (approximately 4 tablespoons). Let stand for about 10 minutes. Grill the chicken for 6 or 7 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. 

Israeli spiced chicken
From the Pantry

By Lauren Mifsud

 I grew up in a very non-ethnic region. There wasn’t much to choose from in terms of cuisine. There was an Italian restaurant on every corner, a single china buffet, local burger joints and not much else. 

But a few weeks ago when I was home visiting, I noticed a handful of new restaurants had popped up around town: a Thai place on one block, a Vietnamese soup kitchen on another, and even a restaurant boasting Middle Eastern cuisine. 
I’ve grown pretty familiar with Thai food over the past couple of years, and I’ve tried just about every Italian joint in my hometown, but the Middle Eastern restaurant offered something new and unexpected. 
I’m a reluctant foodie and like to play it safe the first time I’m eating at a new place. So I opted for a grilled chicken kabob and started with an appetizer of raspberry almond Brie. 
The meal was excellent, and it seemed simple enough that I would be able to recreate the spice rub on the grilled chicken. However, once back in my kitchen, I struggled to perfect a similar combination — so I turned to the Food Network. 
I went searching for Middle Eastern inspired chicken dishes and found one courtesy of Rachel Ray. Now, I don’t know how authentic her recipe is, but the flavor profile seemed to match pretty closely with what I was served at the restaurant. The introduction to her recipe claimed she was attempting to replicate a spice rub that a friend brought back to her from Israel. 
Conveniently, I had all of the necessary spices in my pantry. They aren’t spices I use very frequently, especially not together. But this rub proved delicious and offered a unique smoky flavor with just a hint of sweetness. 
You can make this rub for an individual meal, or make it in larger quantities and store it in your pantry in an airtight container for up to six months. I liked it so much the first time, I opted to make a larger batch of the rub and now use it on everything from chicken to lamb and steak. I’ve started experimenting with it on grilled vegetables as well, to moderate success. 
The combination of the sweet paprika, cumin, oregano, coriander and pepper flakes is exceptional. Add in kosher salt and you’ve got yourself a pantry-friendly spice rub reminiscent of popular Middle Eastern flavors. 
With the smokiness of the rub and the punch of flavor that came with it once the chicken was grilled, I decided to serve the chicken with a side of taboule. It kept with the Middle Eastern theme and was a cool, refreshing complement to the savory chicken. 
— Lauren Mifsud 

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