Firey Harissa Chicken

Harissa Chicken

Firey Harissa Chicken

When I was first learning to cook I once made a ‘fiery’ harissa chicken from a recipe in a magazine. There was a huge ingredients list and it took forever but the thing I remember most was using 50 red chillies in the marinade. My fingers burned for days after preparing so many chillies with no gloves. This version is a much more simple (and just as tasty) homage to that dish. See the variations if you’re not sure about harissa.

enough for: 2
takes: 35 minutes

8 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1-2 tablespoons harissa
450g (1lb) chicken thigh fillets
1/2 small cauliflower, chopped
2-4 tablespoons butter
1 bunch mint, leaves picked

1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Combine yoghurt and harissa. Taste and season.

2. Chop each thigh fillet into 2 pieces. Toss chicken in half the yoghurt mixture. If you have time you could let it marinate for up to 24 hours in the fridge. Or just keep going!

2. Place chicken on a baking tray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through.

3. Meanwhile, whizz the cauliflower in the food processor until you have really fine ‘grains’ that look like couscous.

4. Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add cauli and cook until the cauli is hot. Season.

5. Serve chicken on a bed of the cauli ‘couscous’ with mint leaves on top and remaining spicy yoghurt spooned over.

Variations

no harissa? – harissa is a Tunisian spice paste. You can get it online or from good delis. It usually comes in a tube or a jar. You could substitute and chilli paste like sambal oleck or even your favourite hot sauce. Another option is to finely chop a heap of fresh red chillies. Or try making your own.

dairy-free – make a marinade using 1-2 tablespoons harissa and 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Serve drizzled with a little tahini or mashed avocado instead of the yoghurt sauce.

vegan / vegetarian – replace chicken with firm tofu. The yoghurt and harissa really add loads of flavour to tofu. Or replace chicken with sliced eggplant. You may need to cook a little longer. Another option is to replace chicken with a trimmed bunch of baby carrots for fiery harissa carrots. Vegans will need to see the ‘dairy-free’ suggestions.

more substantial – serve with cooked quinoa, cooked lentils or couscous cooked according to the packet. You may also like to serve flat bread.

pesetarian – lovely with any fish fillets. Reduce the cooking time to about 20 minutes or less, depending on the size of your fish.

different meat – also great with lamb chops or steak.

different herbs – coriander (cilantro), flat leaf parsley, chives or basil.

paleo (gluten, grain + dairy-free) – use coconut yoghurt or replace yoghurt with olive oil and a little extra harissa.

more veg – toss diced red onions, red peppers (capsicum) and carrot through the cauli couscous.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

yoghurt – usually has a shelf life of a month or so. Otherwise, have it for another meal like breakfast! Don’t freeze.

harissa – pantry.

chicken thigh fillets – freeze it.

cauliflower – will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for weeks. To keep for longer, chop into florettes and pop in the freezer. If you have time, grating the cauli before freezing will make life easier so you can just defrost and serve.

butter – keeps in the fridge for months.

mint
– best to use for another meal. leaves can be frozen but will wilt when defrosted so not ideal. Alternatively make a mint oil by packing washed and dried leaves in a clean dry glass jar and covering with extra virgin olive oil use mint oil to serve with lamb, chicken or fish.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Korstanje October 9, 2015

Delicious! I don’t have any harissa, but we have plenty of sambal oelek, so I substituted that to get the “firey” element. Yum!

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jules October 15, 2015

Brilliant substitution Susan!
They’re both very similar 🙂

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