Roasted Chicken with Chickpea-Harissa Stew

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Spice and heat is something so incredibly personal. Everyone seems to have a different opinion and preference and I think it’s close to impossible to make a recipe that involves spice that can be appreciated by everyone.

Take the chili recipe I posted last week. I thought it had a mild heat, but it was so spicy for a family member that they couldn’t eat it. While of course I had to (just slightly) harass that person for having no heat tolerance, it really made me think about what is considered spicy and not.

While I like to think I have a decent heat tolerance, I don’t really eat a ton of spicy foods. Far too often I find food is spicy just for the sake of being spicy and reaches heat levels that mask and hide more subtle flavors. When eating or cooking spicy foods I am typically incredibly picky when giving my seal of approval. I’m pleased to say I found the following recipe to be close to perfection in its level of heat. A bit of heat, but not so spicy as to mask some of the earthier, smokey flavors of the dish (as a bonus, it wasn’t too spicy for someone with a much lower tolerance to spice).

Brands of harissa can be incredibly different in their level of heat, so use your own judgment and preference when adding it. I always say start with a smaller amount; you can always add, but you can’t reduce. I used Mustapha’s (found at a local, organic store), which is Mediterranean style (harissa is originally Tunisian). You should be able to find harissa at most specialty stores.

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Roasted Chicken with Chickpea-Harissa Stew

Adapted from Bon Appetit; generously serves 4

  • 8 chicken thighs (with skin and bone)
  • A few drizzles of olive oil (no more than a tablespoon)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup harissa (see above note)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Chopped Italian Parsley for garnish
  • Sliced lemon for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a Dutch oven (or large skillet that can go from stove-top to oven), heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and in two batches (to ensure you don’t overcrowd), sear chicken thighs on each side until golden brown (should take about 5 minutes per side). Remove chicken and repeat with remaining chicken thighs.

Once chicken has been browned, remove excess fat from Dutch oven (leave about a tablespoon). Add onion and cook for a few minutes, just until it’s just started to soften and take on color. Be sure to scrape up any flavorful browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add tomato paste and cook for a few minutes, until tomato paste has taken on some color. Pour in harissa, sugar, stock, and chickpeas. Bring to a simmer. At this point I tasted for heat. I started out with a heaping tablespoon, but decided to add a smidge more.

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Arrange browned chicken on top of chickpea mixture (skin side up) and bake (uncovered) for approximately 20-25 minutes. Serve with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.

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5 responses to “Roasted Chicken with Chickpea-Harissa Stew”

  1. myninjanaan says :

    I have a huge jar of harissa in my fridge that I bought after seeing Drew Barrymore make an incredible pasta with it on the Ellen show. Alas, I can only have so much pasta lol. This looks amazing! I look forward to trying something like this once I get back home 🙂

  2. deliciouslynell says :

    Yum! We love roast chicken at my house. :3

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