Baked chicken in rose harissa sauce

I love this chicken dish; it’s one of those ‘What’s left in the fridge on Friday?’ recipes that just turns out to be a big hit. The yoghurt and rose harissa sauce is rich and spicy, a bit like a Middle Eastern curry, goes perfectly with chicken and works well with lamb too. It’s an easy make-ahead dish, looks impressive and is quite inexpensive to make. If you marinate the chicken pieces overnight, you can easily have supper on the table in under an hour and a half, and it will cook away nicely while you get on with something else.

Harissa chicken
  • 2 tablespoons rose harissa paste (I use the Belazu brand – you can buy it at Sainsbury’s #BelazuFeasts)
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • pack of six  (to serve 3) or eight (to serve four) skin-on chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
  • 2 large cloves of garlic – grated
  • A jar of piquillo red peppers or two fresh pointed peppers, roasted
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • A tablespoon of chopped parsley or coriander
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Basmati rice to serve

To make…

  • In a large mixing bowl, stir the yoghurt, minced garlic, harissa and paprika together. Trim the excess skin on the chicken thighs, add to the yoghurt mix and coat thoroughly. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours or, even better, overnight. Remove from the fridge and let it come up to room temperature for 20 minutes or so before cooking.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. If I roast my own peppers, I put them in the oven now for 20 minutes and then skin and de-seed them myself – you could use a ready prepped jar of peppers to save time. The peppers are added to the casserole towards the end of the cooking time.
  • Sauté the onions until golden in a tablespoon of olive oil either in a frying pan or straight into a casserole dish. I cook mine in a large, shallow cast iron casserole dish which makes the dish oven-to-table ready.
  • Add the chicken pieces skin-side up and all the marinade to the onion mixture. Add the stock, stir, cover with the casserole lid and cook it in the oven for an hour.
  • After an hour, remove the chicken from the oven and take off the lid. The sauce should be thick and oozy but there will probably be quite a lot of oil on the surface. Tip the casserole slightly so the oil pools, skim off the excess with a spoon.
  • Check the sauce for seasoning, add pepper and salt to taste. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and drain the peppers. Tuck them between the chicken pieces into the sauce and put it back into the oven for another 15 minutes. This should heat up the peppers and tomatoes without them disintegrating into the sauce. If you’ve used a shallow casserole like the one in the picture, the skin on the chicken should protrude from the sauce and crisp up a little.
  • Meanwhile, cook the rice. When it’s ready, remove the casserole from the oven and dress with the chopped parsley or coriander before serving. Yum!

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About Janet Davies @pigeoncottage

Food lover, author, cook!
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