Harissa Chicken Under a Brick

  • Yield: 4 servings


Spice Mix:
1tablespoon caraway seeds
1tablespoon cumin seeds (can substitute ground cumin)
1tablespoon coriander seeds (can substitute ground coriander)
3tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/4teaspoons red pepper flakes, divided
1-- 7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
1clove garlic
1/4cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4cup Greek yogurt
2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-- chicken quarters (legs with thighs) with skin
1-- lemon for garnish
Curried Couscous:
1cup couscous
1 1/2cups chicken stock
1 1/2teaspoons curry powder
2teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2teaspoon kosher salt
1/4cup chopped scallions
1/4cup chopped fresh cilantro
3tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/4cup sliced almonds


To make the spice mix, place the caraway, cumin, and coriander seeds in a small dry skillet and toast over low heat until fragrant. Grind the spices to a powder in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle. Place the spices in a measuring cup with the lemon juice and olive oil and stir to combine well.

Pour 2/3 of the spice mixture into a large glass baking tray and add the cinnamon, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Mix together. Add the chicken quarters and rub the spice mixture all over the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.

While chicken is marinating, make the harissa sauce. Pour the remaining 1/3 of the spice mixture into a blender. Add 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, roasted red peppers, garlic, cilantro, and Greek yogurt. Blend until smooth. Pour sauce into a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Wrap two bricks in a couple of layers of aluminum foil. If you do not have bricks, you can use another skillet weighted down with cans. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken quarters from the marinade and place them skin side down in the skillet. Immediately place the bricks on top of the chicken. Cook the chicken for 8 minutes until the skin is golden brown. Remove the brick and turn the chicken pieces over. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from oven.

While chicken is cooking, make the curried cous cous. Put the couscous, chicken stock, curry powder, olive oil, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and take off the heat. Let rest for 5 minutes then remove cover and fluff with a fork. Add the scallions, cilantro, mint, and almonds and stir to combine.

To serve, place the cous cous on a large serving platter. Arrange chicken pieces on top. Pour some harissa sauce on the chicken pieces and serve remaining sauce in a small bowl on the side. Garnish with lemon wedges, fresh herbs, and almonds. This recipe makes 4 servings.