To all my longtime foodies: Who remembers those really old recipe websites? Like, the kind of websites that look like a 50 year old technology-illiterate housewife made them 20 years ago when the internet was first founded. The ones that provide weekly meal-plans & recipes using nothing but condensed soup-in-a-can, Pillsbury biscuit dough, and Hamburger Helper. Yeah. THOSE websites…
When I first started cooking dinner for my boyfriend when we were teenagers, I always used to check out those websites for weekly recipe ideas. We were big fans of Pillsbury crescent rolls & biscuits and Hamburger Helper really was a weekly staple for us. I didn’t know any better! Plus, I grew up eating a lot of those things and never thought twice about them.
On one of those websites – let’s just call it “Cathy’s Couponing World”, I spotted a recipe for “North African Chicken.” Now, Cathy’s Couponing World, most likely based in IdahoNebraskaNorthDakotaMinnesota, is far from ‘worldly’ and the presence of ethnic dishes on those websites tends to go as far as Chicken Teriyaki with white rice. Of course, it’s usually high-fructose corn syrup-based teriyaki sauce from a bottle, and generic instant white rice… *shudder* I can feel my good gut bacteria dying as we speak.
So, when I first spotted this North African Chicken, I thought to myself, “Good girl, Cathy. Step outside of that box!”…only to be left fairly disappointed. Unfortunately, orange juice + honey + cumin was as North African as Cathy was gonna get. While I’m pretty sure if you google “North African chicken,” you will not see honey-cumin-OJ as their cuisine’s typical flavor profile, it was still a combo I wanted to try, nonetheless. Honey + orange juice + cumin forever stuck with me and here I am, years later, finally trying it out.
Since I tend to find chicken breast dry & boring, I decided to take out the 2 big, fat chicken breasts that were starting to get freezer burned, pound them out, and cook them under the broiler. The pounding would make them tender, the quick-cooking under the broiler would keep them juicy & moist, and the sauce would flavor it all nicely. You could even make these without the sauce! This cooking method with simply pounded chicken, salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil, under the broiler, makes for perfect chicken breasts every time!
- 1 lb. chicken breasts (2 breasts, both pounded to about ¾-1 inch thickness)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1-1/2 tsp total)
- ¼ to ½ tsp salt per chicken breast
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat broiler and place oven rack as high as it goes.
- Pound chicken breasts to uniform thickness - about ¾ to 1 inch thick.
- Liberally season each breast with freshly ground pepper and ¼ to ½ tsp total of sea salt for each breast, depending how large they are. (Make sure to get both sides!)
- Place thoroughly seasoned & pounded chicken breasts into a greased baking dish.
- Whisk oil, honey, orange juice, cumin, and garlic together and pour over chicken.
- Place baking dish on top rack of oven (about 4 inches away from the heating element) and cook 3-4 minutes. Flip once, then broil the other side for another 3-4 minutes until sauce is bubbling and chicken has begun to brown.
- Slice & serve immediately with sauce spooned overtop.