1st Place Honorable Mention – 2014 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service!

Our first honorable mention prizewinner in our 2014 recipe contest is…home chef…drum roll please…William Kanour! Congratulations Chef!

Mediterranean Fusion Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes

What makes this super Mediterranean dish unique is its Moroccan influence with the use of harissa, that culture’s specialty red bell pepper puree with aromatic ingredients like coriander, caraway and cumin, and in my experience (you’ll have to add a teaspoon here), cardamom (you can also add sun dried tomatoes to your puree!). You can make your own (recommended…the very efficient chef William has included his recipe), or buy it in any of several forms, jar, squeeze tube etc. Additional Mediterranean ingredients make this dish another of what I like to call a ‘whole greater than the sum of its parts’: artichokes, lots of olives, garlic and of course sun dried tomatoes.

Chef Richie says: because harissa is featured, this is truly a world fusion and globally interesting dish. How often do we get to cook a specialty from the African continent?!

Now…one of the reasons this recipe didn’t make the finals is…wait for it…the harissa. Sigh. It turns out that here in Chico harissa is very hard/impossible to find. Safeway-nope. Raley’s-nope. Our local natural foods store-nope. Our local specialty foods store-nope. World Market…uh…sometimes (just not right now). Ok, you can make it, but this recipe becomes complicated enough on its own and one of our criteria for this contest is (relative) simplicity. Challenging our fans to become chefs is something I love to do, but there are limits. For those of you up for the challenge…get to it!

Chef William will be receiving a deluxe gift assortment of Bella Sun Luci ingredients and I hope he uses them as testers for a 2015 Mooney Farms/Bella Sun Luci recipe contest submission. His kind of creativity is always a welcome addition to the hundreds of recipes we receive each year! Go Chef William!

Mediterranean Fusion Chicken with Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes

4 to 5 servings (2 pieces of chicken per serving)


  • 1 Tablespoon of Harissa paste mixed into 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 8 to 10 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken (about 2.5 lbs.)
  • 36 whole Olives, Spanish and Kalamata
  • 24 marinated artichoke quarters (or a mix of halves and quarters)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • 36 pieces (halves) of Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried tomatoes in olive oil with Italian herbss (24 left whole and 12 julienned)
  • ½ cup of white wine such as a Pinot Gris


In a large skillet (with a lid) over medium heat place the olive oil/Harrisa mixture to start warming. Salt and pepper the chicken. Add the chicken to the pan and brown it slightly on each side over medium heat (about 3-4 minutes per side). Now add the olives, artichoke pieces and garlic. If your pan is a bit dry add some of the wine. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes then add the julienned and halved sun dried tomatoes. Add the remaining wine, cover and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until juices from the chicken run clear. Total cooking time about 20-21 minutes.

Serve the chicken pieces with the sun dried tomatoes, olives and artichoke pieces over couscous, quinoa, or pasta of your choice.

If you cannot find Harissa paste in the market it is easily made at home with the following ingredients

  • 10-12 dried red chili peppers
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon Juice
  • *1 tsp ground cardamom (Chef Richie Says: optional)


Soak the dried chili peppers in hot water for 30-45 minutes. Drain, remove stems and seeds. In a blender or food processor combine the chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Blend well. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until a smooth paste forms. Keep the extra in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Happy cooking and buon appetito!

Con amore,

Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA

Chef Richie

About Chef Richie

As corporate chef for Bella Sun Luci, Richard "Chef Richie" Hirshen, whose culinary career spans more than 30 years, plays an instrumental role in product development, recipe creation, and cooking demonstrations.

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