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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Sng

Harissa chicken in a hurry

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

Succulent chicken thighs with tangy yoghurt and garlic sauce, with an underlying warmth from harissa, the sweetness of leeks, and vibrant dill and parsley to top it off — all done on one pan in the oven.

Serves 3


  • 2 tablespoons harissa

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 teaspoons salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 6 chicken thighs (deboned is easier to eat; chicken breasts will work too, but watch the cooking time as they tend to dry out especially if they are skinless)

  • 700 grams potatoes or sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

  • 2 leeks, sliced in half lengthwise and thinly sliced crossways

  • Grated zest of one lemon

  • 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

  • Lemon juice

  • A handful of fresh herbs, such as parsley, mint, dill, chervil and tarragon, very coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, mix together the harissa, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, cumin, 2 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper.

Add the chicken and potatoes, then rub them with the marinade. Be sure to use your hands to rub the sauce under the skin of the chicken. Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature or prepare the night before and then bring to room temperature before cooking.

In a medium bowl, toss the leeks together with the lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Adjust the oven rack to the centre of the oven.

Transfer the chicken and potatoes, and any sauce in the bowl, onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the chicken pieces so they are skin side up and make sure the chicken parts and potatoes are in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Toss the potatoes (so they can brown on the other side), then toss the leeks over everything on the baking sheet.

Bake until the chicken is cooked through, another 20 to 25 minutes. The skin should get nice and crispy.

While the chicken is cooking, in a small bowl, mix the yoghurt with the garlic, the remaining salt and pepper, and lemon juice.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spoon the yoghurt sauce in various places over the chicken and potatoes.

Top with fresh herbs and serve.

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz, who adapted it from Melissa Clark.

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