Have you ever seen an ingredient in a grocery store that you were too scared to buy?
Recently, I spotted a jar of Harissa Spice Mix in one of our local supermarkets. Harissa is a spicy North African seasoning that usually comes in a paste form. It’s a mix of chilies, garlic, cumin, caraway, coriander and mint, or similar variations.
I love trying new things, but I have a fairly strong aversion to cumin, which is why you haven’t seen anything in the way of curry dishes on this site. I don’t know what it is about cumin that I dislike so much. Actually, when I think about it, it’s the smell more than the taste. It’s associated with a bad memory from years ago. I love curry when someone else makes it for me, and I’m determined to work it into my cooking repertoire.
So I bought that little jar, just to be a little adventurous and to force myself to give cumin another chance. I flipped through David Lebovitz’ My Paris Kitchen and found his recipe for what he calls Chicken Lady Chicken. It used a whole chicken and the recipe had a lot of steps. I simply used the same marinade ingredients and streamlined the recipe to make it work for me and made this easy Harissa Chicken dish with chicken thighs. I substituted coconut aminos for the soy sauce. (Coconut aminos comes from the sap of a coconut tree, but it doesn’t taste like coconuts. It’s a substitute for soy sauce and a great option if you’re avoiding soy or following a paleo diet.)
I combined all the ingredients (except the chicken, of course!) in a blender, put the chicken in a plastic resealable bag, poured the sauce on top, and massaged it into the chicken pieces. I let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours, then seared it quickly on the stove top and popped the pan in the oven to finish cooking. That’s it. Easy. Done, and on the table. Just as quick as two of our other favourites: Easy Baked Lemon Chicken and Honey-Mustard Turmeric Chicken.
We loved this harissa chicken dish. It has just enough heat and spice to keep it interesting, but not so much to overpower it. The harissa forms a crispy coating on the skin and using chicken thighs with the skin on keeps the chicken moist. I hope you like it too.
This Easy Harissa Chicken has just the right amount of heat and spice to keep it interesting without overpowering it. Quick, easy and delicious flavours of North Africa!
- 6 bone-in, skin-on organic chicken thighs
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp wine, red or white
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 2 1/2 tsp harissa spice mix
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp honey
- oil for searing the chicken
- Mix all ingredients, except the chicken, in a blender until smooth.
- Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Put in a resealable plastic bag.
- Pour the sauce into the bag and massage it into the chicken parts. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Heat an oven-proof skillet over medium to high heat until very hot, then add a little oil. The oil should ripple. Then carefully add the chicken parts, skin side down. Shake the pan just a little to prevent sticking, then let the pieces sear for a few minutes. Carefully flip over and sear the other side. Once browned, drain off the excess fat, put the skillet into the preheated oven (or transfer the chicken to a baking dish) and bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
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