11/02/2011 05:37 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2012


Gail Simmons shows you how to use foods you already have in your pantry to make easy, delicious recipes. In this episode of the Pantry Project, Gail shows viewers how to use harissa in recipes.

Harissa is a North African spice blend that usually contains coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger and chiles. It's got a spicy kick that's excellent in marinades or when added to a vinaigrette. You can buy it in ground form, as a jarred condiment or as a paste. In this video Gail shows viewers three recipes she's created to make the most of its flavor, and then demonstrates how to make her Grilled Harissa Chicken with Cucumber Yogurt Dressing. She starts by adding Greek-style yogurt to a bowl along with harissa, minced garlic, lemon zest, paprika, salt and pepper. She adds boneless, skinless chicken breasts to the bowl, then covers the bowl with plastic wrap and marinates the chicken for several hours in the refrigerator. The flavors will seep into the meat and the yogurt will tenderize the chicken.

When the chicken has marinated for three hours, Gail takes out the breasts and removes any excess marinade (too much marinade can burn on the grill). While she grills the breasts on a hot grill pan, she puts together the refreshing yogurt sauce, combining Greek-style yogurt with lemon zest, cumin and finely diced cucumbers. A drizzle of olive oil is next -- it helps to thin out the sauce and gives it a creamy consistency.

After the chicken is cooked through, she lets it rest so it won't release its juices when sliced. When it's had time to rest, she slices the breasts and places them on a platter, then spoons the sauce over them and garnishes the dish with fresh cilantro.

Grilled Peppers, Eggplant & Zucchini with Lemon-Harissa Dressing
Moroccan Baked Eggs with Red Peppers & Spinach
Grilled Harissa Chicken with Cucumber Yogurt Dressing