Tender succulent chicken, smothered in a harissa coating and roasted to perfection.
So in our Christmas break, we went for a quick jaunt down to the South West and stayed in the beautiful Margaret River. Honestly, I’m so lucky to have such a beautiful place to visit right on my door step. Only 3 ½ hours drive away.
I’ve always loved our south west since I was a kid and mum and dad would take us down on holidays each year. We went to a few places but often it was Margaret River. As a child I would have liked it for different reasons but now that I’m all growed up, my favourite part is the – wait for it – drumroll – food! (ooh, and wine). I’m also very lucky that my gorgeous fiancé also loves it – or maybe he’s just humouring me because I turn into a little kid and get all excited when we get to go down there for a few days. And every time, we make a list of the things we need to re-stock the pantry. make all sorts of crazy lists of places I want to go, and foods that we need to pick up to refill the pantry.
Anyway, moving on to Sticky Harissa Chicken. I had never tried harissa before this trip. I liked the idea of it but had just never actually got around to trying it. There’s a lot of food to get through in this world, you know :). We ducked into one of our favourite farm shops (is that what they’re called – I have no idea but you get the gist) while there and we discovered their Harissa paste. It had this gorgeous, inky dark red look about it and I knew it was going to have some firepower so I tried some. Yum, yum, yum. So naturally, I bought it and added it to the growing pile of wares in the back of our little car. So what is harissa? It’s a condiment used predominantly in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine and is a hot chilli paste mixed with various spices, garlic, oil and herbs.
Bottles clinking as we drove along, I wondered what would I create with my new Harissa paste. It has so many uses, from dips to sauces to marinades. I’ve yet to try it, but apparently a little in a bowl with some olive oil on top is great for dipping bread into. But my first thought was a harissa roast chicken. It eventually turned into the recipe below – Sticky Harissa Chicken.
This blew my socks off – it tastes soooo good. I loved it and fiancé loved it and I will be making it again. I may go so far as to say Sticky Harissa Chicken will become a regular on our list of faves. And not only is it delicious, it is also super easy. I mean reeeeally easy.
The sauce is a sticky, gooey mix of harissa (well, of course. Duh), honey, lemon juice & zest, cumin and paprika. This mix is simmered gently until it is thick and sticky and then painted onto the chicken about half way through cooking.
- 1 onion chopped into 8ths
- Olive Oil
- 2 teaspoons butter
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 ½ tablespoons harissa paste (see notes)
- Juice & zest of half a lemon
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
Preheat oven to 180C
Wash the chicken and dry thoroughly with paper towel. Cut down each side of the backbone of the chicken to remove it, then flip it over and press with the palm of your hand to flatten out the chicken at the breastbone. Place chicken in a large baking dish on top of the chopped onion.
Put a few small pieces of butter under the skin of the chicken on the breast part. I like the added flavour and moisture it adds to the breast. Now rub the skin of the chicken with a little salt and oil. Put it in the preheated oven and set a timer for 20 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, bring the honey, harissa paste, lemon juice & zest, cumin & paprika, to a simmer in a small saucepan. Continue simmering until it gets quite thick and syrupy (like honey consistency).
Once the 20 minutes is up, take the chicken out of the oven and brush the sauce all over. Turn the oven temperature up to 200C and return the chicken to the oven.
Cook the chicken for another 20-25 minutes, basting every 5-7 minutes with the juices from the pan or any leftover sauce. A meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the chicken should read 75C if it is cooked.
Chop it into 8 pieces with a carving knife. Skim any oil off the pan juices and then pour the remaining juices back over the chicken. Serve and enjoy.
This is lovely served with rice (I cooked my rice in chicken stock & leek for some extra flavour), some sautéed spinach with toasted pine nuts and something like naan bread for mopping up the extra sauce. Raita is also a nice addition to cool it all down a bit.
I use an Australian standard tablespoon size 20ml