Monica’s Harissa Grilled Local Chicken with Pear, Avocado and Mint

Chef Monica Pope originally made this recipe with Texas grapefruit. They’re coming in season in October, and peak over the holidays. If you have Texas grapefruit: Use 2 whole grapefruit, peeled and segmented, and divide over the chicken same as when using pear. Needless to say, once you’ve discovered the spicy richness of harissa-grilled chicken and the natural sweetness of one of Texas’s seasonal fruits, you’re bound to explore more varieties: persimmon, prickly pear, figs, Satsuma, honey melon … happy eating!

August 28, 2015


All main ingredients are grown and raised locally.

For the harissa: Roast all seeds in a sauté pan until fragrant. After the seeds have completely cooled, grind them in a spice grinder. Mix all remaining ingredients by hand.

Rub the chicken breasts all over with harissa (what you don’t use will keep in a closed jar in the fridge for up to two weeks). Marinate your chicken breasts for 2 hours. Grill in a 400° oven until done.

To assemble: On a plate, alternate avocado slices with pear parts. Top with the mint leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze the lime on top. Place the cooked chicken to the side and top with feta and a little extra harissa, if desired.


Harissa Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon anise seed
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • ¾ cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons red chile flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic
  • cloves, finely chopped
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, pounded to make even (all-natural, hormone-free!)
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 4 ripe pears, cleaned and cut into parts
  • ½ bunch mint, stemmed and shredded or torn
  • Feta cheese, to taste
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