Harissa-Rubbed Roast Chicken

This recipe is adapted from one in a Saveur magazine issue, from Chef Michael Solomonov. I adore Middle Eastern spices, and his cooking is very flavourful. It makes a warm winter meal, and leftovers are great, too.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe requires at least 4 hours marinating time. It’s not fast food 🙂

harissa chicken

one 2 lb / 1 kg chicken

2 tbsp / 30 g harissa paste (found in Middle Eastern grocery stores)

1 tbsp / 15 mL olive oil

4 tsp / 20 mL red wine vinegar

1 tsp / 5 g cumin seed

1 tsp / 5 g caraway seed

1 tsp / 5 g coriander seed

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 tbsp / 15 g kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

1 tbsp / 15 g celery seeds

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin, caraway, coriander and garlic. Mix it with the harissa paste and gradually add in oil then vinegar. Set aside.

Spatchcock the chicken using kitchen shears (that is, remove the backbone, cut the breastbone in the centre and press the chicken flat.)

once you trim away the backbone and ribs, and cut into the sternum bone, the carcass goes flat

once you trim away the backbone and ribs, and cut into the sternum bone, the carcass goes flat

Cover a baking rack with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on it. Put the chicken on the rack skin side up, and season with salt. Score the skin of the chicken with cuts through the breasts and legs.

Grind the celery seeds in the mortar and pestle and mix in the harissa blend. Massage this blend into the chicken on both sides. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. * Halfway through the marinating time, remove the plastic wrap and poke the chicken throughout with a fork to further increase the absorption of the spices.

Preheat the oven to 425F /220c. Roast the chicken until golden brown, approximately 1 hour, until internal temperature reaches 160F /72C in the breast. For best results, start it skin side down and flip it over halfway through.

Serve with couscous or quinoa seasoned with ras-el-hanout (a Moroccan spice blend) and Collard Greens with Caramelized Onions.


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