Are you tired of the same old “cluck cluck” dinner?
Are you ready to spice up your life and take your tastebuds on an unforgettable journey?
Let me introduce you to the magic of Harissa Roasted Chicken!
This recipe will send your boring chicken dinners packing and awaken your senses with its bold, spicy flavors.
Once you’ve tasted this incredible dish, you I’ll be riding this flavor wave for a while. 🌊🍗
Let’s talk a little about Harissa. The word “harissa” comes from the Arab word “harasa,” which means ‘break into pieces.’ Traditionally, it was made by grinding dried chilis, salt, and olive oil together using a mortar and pestle. Although we have blenders now, the authentic flavor of this fiery marinade remains unchanged.
In this recipe, we’ll be using guajillo peppers. These dehydrated delights are hotter than a poblano but milder than a jalapeño. Native to Mexico, guajillos are popular in various cuisines for making salsas, chili sauces, chili oils, and adobos. Combined with roasted red peppers, they create the perfect sweet and spicy harissa sauce that will dance on your tongue.
- Marinate overnight: Don’t be shy! Let your chicken soak up that delicious harissa goodness for 12-24 hours. The longer it marinates, the deeper and richer the flavor will be. Cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let your chicken chill in the fridge.
- Citrus and veggie love: Add some zesty fruits and vegetables like carrots, onions, and potatoes to the bottom of your roasting pan. They’ll catch all those tasty drippings and make for a scrumptious side dish when served alongside your Harissa Roasted Chicken.
- Thermometer to the rescue: To ensure your chicken is cooked to perfection, make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. It’s essential to prevent any risk of foodborne illnesses like salmonella.
- Baste, baby, baste: Don’t forget to spoon the drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan back onto the chicken occasionally. This helps keep your chicken juicy and moist, just the way we like it!
- Chicken – Preparing and roasting a whole chicken can be a daunting task. This recipe simplifies that by using a delicious, spicy marinade. Consider 0.5-0.75 lb per person when deciding on how big of a chicken to buy.
- Red bell peppers – Red peppers are a common vegetable used in Moroccan cooking. They provide a sweetness to the sauce that balances out the spicy chilies.
- Dried, whole chilies – Chilis is the main component of harissa. They provide the rich color and spicy flavor this dish produces. Most commonly, dried chilis are rehydrated. However, if your local or specialty grocery store has fresh peppers, like serranos, that you want to incorporate, go ahead.
First things first, let’s get our baking sheet ready by lining it with parchment paper. Now it’s time to tackle those bell peppers – give them a good rinse, remove the seeds, and slice them in half. Don’t forget to scoop out the insides! 🌶️
Next, grab a lemon and slice it in half. Place your bell pepper halves, lemon, chickpeas, and garlic cloves on the baking sheet.
Time to add some love with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Pop the baking sheet into the oven on the middle rack, and set it to BROIL on high. Let the veggies broil for about 15 minutes or until the red peppers turn a beautiful blackened shade.
While our veggies are getting their tan on, let’s toast some spices! In a pan, gently toast the cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika over medium heat until they’re fragrant and aromatic. This should take around 5 minutes.
Once the veggies are out of the oven, it’s time to season them with our toasted spices. Set them aside to cool, and turn your oven down to 350°F in preparation for the chicken.
Now, let’s prepare our dried chilis! Place them in a small, heat-resistant container and pour boiling hot water over them. Allow the chilis to rehydrate for at least 10 minutes.
When the chilis are plump and rehydrated, it’s time to make our magical harissa sauce. Combine 4 bell pepper halves, chickpeas, lemon, garlic cloves, rehydrated chilis, and tomato paste in a blender. Blend until you achieve a lusciously creamy harissa sauce/paste.
Let’s get that chicken ready for its flavor bath!
Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and pour the harissa sauce over it. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to really absorb those flavors.
It’s time to roast! Transfer the chicken to a roasting pan and bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. When it’s ready, remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
While the chicken rests, chop up the remaining bell peppers and some flat-leaf parsley. Mix them in a bowl, and you’ve got a fresh and vibrant garnish! Sprinkle it over your succulent chicken, slice, and serve.
This recipe can be overwhelming with all the steps, but let’s break it down by cooking steps to determine the kitchen appliances and tools needed.
- Baking Sheet/Pan – This recipe requires a large baking sheet to roast the red peppers, chickpeas, lemon, and garlic. I suggest using one about 12-15 inches by 17-20 inches.
- Parchment Paper (optional) – If you don’t have parchment paper, use a non-stick baking tray or add oil to the pan to create a non-stick surface.
- Blender – You’ll need a blender to make the sauce. Just be sure it’s large enough to handle 4 red peppers, chickpeas, lemon, garlic, chili peppers, and their liquid. A single-serving blender may be too small for this recipe.
- Thermometer – A must-have kitchen tool when cooking a whole chicken. It’s hard to know if the chicken is fully cooked (165 F) without one, and you don’t want to risk drying it out by cutting it into it.
- Roasting Pan – A deeper-style baking pan with a rack is perfect for roasting your chicken. The rack allows space for the sauce and extra juices to collect underneath while cooking.
This recipe is a showstopper for family meals and holidays alike. Pair it with some scrumptious sides like:
- Roasted or glazed carrots
- Mediterranean couscous
- Coconut rice
- Vegetable medley with green beans and mushrooms
- Grilled vegetables, such as eggplant and zucchini
- Orzo pasta salad
- Warm baked pita or naan bread
Harissa is the red pepper sauce used in this dish. If cooking a whole chicken is intimidating to you (you are not alone), try marinating these proteins instead:
- Chicken wings
- Chicken thighs or breasts
- White fish
Or get creative with Harissa in other ways:
- On a burger as a condiment
- As a marinade for grilled vegetables
- As a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries
- In a homemade salad dressing
- Spice up a jarred tomato sauce
- Use it as a rub for lamb or pork tenderloin
What is the internal temperature of a fully cooked chicken?
It should be 165 F to avoid foodborne illnesses.
What do you use harissa for in cooking?
Use it as a marinade, additive in sauces or stews, or mix it into ground meats for extra flavor and moisture.
What size chicken do I need to feed my family?
A 3-4 lb chicken serves 4-6 people. If you’re feeding 1-2, consider a Cornish hen or save leftovers for lunch!
Is harissa really spicy?
It’s a mix of sweet, smoky, and spicy. You can gradually adjust the heat by adding chili peppers to suit your taste.
This Harissa Roasted Chicken is a game-changer! Bold and simple, it’s guaranteed to impress your friends and family. So, say goodbye to your plain old chicken recipe and embrace the spicy world of harissa. Let me know which chilis you find at your local grocery store and how spicy you make your sauce on a scale of 1-10.
Harissa & Citrus Roast Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- 3 whole red bell peppers
- 1 whole organic lemon
- 5 cloves garlic
- ½ cup chickpeas
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 dried guajillo chillies
- 3 dried spicy chiles (optional)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds (whole)
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
- Half and deseed bell peppers and cut the lemon in half.
- Add bell peppers, lemon, garlic cloves, and chickpeas to a parchment-lined baking tray.
- Drizzle vegetables with oil and season with salt.
- Broil on the middle rack, high heat for about 15 minutes, or until blackened.
- In a pan, toast cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika on medium heat until fragrant (~5 minutes).
- Sprinkle toasted seasonings on top of the roasted peppers and chickpeas.
- In a small container, soak dried chilies in hot water for 10 minutes to rehydrate.
- Add 4 halves of bell peppers (reserve 2 halves for garnish), chickpeas, lemon, garlic cloves and the rehydrated chilis to a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Place the chicken in a big bowl and pour the harissa over the chicken, covering the entire chicken.
- Marinade at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. (Overnight is reccomended)
- Transfer to a baking pan.
- Bake at 350 F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 F.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into chicken.
- Dice the remaining bell pepper and flat leaf parsley and toss together in a bowl.
- Garnish the baked chicken.
- Serve and enjoy!
My name is Noha.
I’m passionate about food, an avid traveler, and I love to explore new cultures and cuisines whenever I get the chance by sharing my recipes and experiences with my readers.
A big fan of exploring different cuisines and always looking for new and exciting flavors to explore. I’m especially interested in healthy eating and finding ways to make delicious dishes without sacrificing nutrition.