This moroccan grilled chicken recipe is so easy to make, it's perfect for summer weeknight meal. Or you can use a grill pan and make this any time of the year! The spiced couscous cooks in just 10 minutes and is filled with toasted sunflower seeds for a bit of nuttiness, with fresh pomegranate arils that provide a sweet, tart burst of flavor.
MSG in Chicken
Reading the Heal Your Headache book really opened my eyes to many things that I never used to think about, particularly when it comes to MSG. I find it interesting that so many people who assume they’re eating healthy, never fully look into what they are actually buying. I have to laugh now when I see some of these health bloggers pushing products that contain many of the hidden names for MSG. You will see many conflicting verdicts when you dive deeper, which makes me wonder how well it’s truly been studied. There was also a time when people thought smoking was healthy! While it’s clearly not a problem for everyone, many studies have shown it increases symptoms in those with migraine and fibromyalgia.
Reading Labels on Raw Chicken
One of the most important things I learned was to actually look at labels. Were there ingredients I couldn’t pronounce? You’d be surprised to find that this can happen with your raw, “fresh” foods too, including chicken. There was an article by the Washington Post that came out in 2007 called “Crying Foul in the Debate Over ‘Natural’ Chicken”. It exposed Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride for injecting their chickens that they claimed were “all natural” with a solution that added up to 15% of their weight. The solution was made up of salt, seaweed, and chicken broth, which the Agricultural Department approved as being natural ingredients. Therefore they were able to label their chickens as “all natural” even with this injected solution. Some of these injections included ingredients like carrageenan, which acts like MSG in the system of someone who is sensitive to it.
Why Buy Air Chilled Chicken?
I am sure you’ve seen many chickens labeled “air chilled”, and I’ve been told by the butcher that they find these words more important than “organic” these days. The USDA requires chickens to be cooled to a certain temperature for food safety. Many large corporations use the same containers filled with chlorinated water to chill their chickens, promoting cross-contamination and the absorption of water into the meat. Air-chilled chickens are separated and passed by a track through different chambers of cooled air. It takes longer than a water bath, causing it to be more expensive all around. Many believe it’s worth the extra cost because
1. you’re not getting extra water in your meat
2. it’s better for the flavor as you are truly getting an all-natural chicken.
I encourage you to look closely at what you’re buying and try out “air-chilled’ chicken sometime. I think you’ll notice a large difference in the flavor and maybe even feel better overall.
This recipe is a simple, healthy weeknight dinner that takes about 30 minutes total. I have a cast iron grill pan that I love to use when it’s too cold to grill, but you can use whatever you like best. For the salad, I mixed arugula or "rocket salad" with really good olive oil I got from Spain, some kosher salt, and freshly cracked pepper. If you use really good olive oil, you don't need much else.
For more easy chicken recipes check out:
- 1-¾ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded to ¾in thickness I just used thin sliced
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt & pepper
- 1 tsp honey
- 2-½ tsp paprika
- 1-½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp coriander
- ¼ tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- Place all the ingredients in a large ziploc bag or dish and marinate at least 30 minutes to an hour.
- Brush grill pan with olive oil and heat to med-high heat. Add marinated chicken and sear on first side 4 minutes. Flip and sear on other side 3-4 minutes (mine took 3). The internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees. Wrap in tin foil until you're ready to serve.
- 2 tbsp butter I used kerrygold
- 1 large shallot chopped
- 1 cup HYH safe vegetable or chicken stock
- ¾ cup couscous (NOT Israeli couscous) I used Trader Joe's Whole Wheat but Bob's Red Mill has a good "golden" couscous too
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds I probably added ½ cup 🙂
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley chopped
- ¼ tsp kosher salt and pepper
- In a large, deep pan (that has a lid) melt butter and sauté shallot for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a simmer.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add couscous. Cover with the lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Remove lid and fluff cous cous with a fork. Add pomegranate seeds, paprika, sunflower seeds, and parsley. Season to taste.