Roast Chicken Breasts with North African Spice Paste

Roast Chicken Breasts with North African Spice Paste

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8 (2-inch-long) dried hot red chiles, torn into small pieces
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp caraway seeds
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp kosher salt
5 tbsp evoo
4 large chicken breast halves with skin and bone (about 3/4 pound each)
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  
Coarsely grind chiles, spice seeds, garlic, and peppercorns in grinder or with mortar and pestle, then stir together with salt and oil in a bowl to form a spice paste.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry.  Rub paste all over chicken.  Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or other heavy, oven-safe skillet) over medium to medium-high heat.  Add peanut oil.  Once oil is hot, place chicken in the skillet skin-side down.  Brown for about 3-5 minutes, keeping a close eye on the chicken so that the spices don't burn.  Turn the chicken over and place skillet in oven.  Roast chicken for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and add the butter to the pan.  Swirl the butter around to melt.  Return the pan to the oven.  Roast 5 additional minutes (until chicken juices run clear when you pierce the chicken with a sharp knife).
Remove the chicken from the oven.  Baste chicken with melted butter/pan juices.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.