Saturday, 17 October 2015

Harissa chicken with vegetable marga

This recipe is one that Jane invented, "once upon a time"... It came to mind the other day while I was making my home-made Harissa.

[Note: a "marga" is another name for a tagine. Not the dish you cook it in, but the stuff you cook, in the same way that we use the term "casserole".]

Harissa chicken with vegetable marga (serves 2, generously!)
1 small whole chicken
1 large carrot, peeled
1 large red onion, peeled
200g butternut squash, peeled
200g Sweet Potato, peeled (I used my home-grown ones!)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (I replaced this with a tub of home-made tomato sauce and 4 medium-sized fresh tomatoes, skinned)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2 lemons
4 fresh Bay leaves
1 tbsp Harissa paste (adjust to taste)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
To accompany
100g couscous, prepared according to manufacturer's directions. (I added some chopped fresh Parsley.)
Vegetables, prepped.
Set oven to 190C, gas mark 5
Loosen the neck flap of the chicken, ease the skin away from the breast, spread the Harissa paste over the breast and press the skin back in place
Smear a little of the Harissa all over the skin of the chicken
Place chicken in a large roasting-tin
Halve one of the lemons, and squeeze the juice over the chicken. Place squeezed lemons inside the cavity of the chicken
Cut vegetables into 3cm cubes
Place prepared vegetables around the chicken, along with the whole garlic cloves and the other lemon, cut into wedges
Drizzle olive oil over everything and season with salt and pepper

Roast for 75 minutes or until chicken is cooked, stirring vegetables occasionally
Remove chicken from roasting-tin, allow to stand for 10 minutes before carving
Meanwhile, remove lemon wedges and Bay leaves from the vegetables
Spoon off as much fat as possible, leaving juices in the pan

Tip tomatoes into the roasting-tin and simmer over a medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes, mixing well with a wooden spoon, and crushing any large lumps of vegetable into the sauce.

Adding tomatoes and tomato sauce to the roasted vegetables
The "sauce" after crushing most of the veg
To serve
Place prepared couscous onto individual plates
Place pieces of carved chicken on top of couscous
Spoon marga (sauce) on top of chicken
Garnish with green salad
Serve immediately! 

I really enjoyed this meal. The soft gooey sauce was full of the flavour of roasted veg, and both spicy and sweet at the same time. The Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, and Carrot - and to a lesser degree the Tomatoes - are all sweet, and of course the chillis in the Harissa contribute the warmth and spiciness, that tingle in the mouth that lingers for several minutes after you swallow. The chicken skin was beautiful too - crispy and tangy - whereas the meat underneath was beautifully moist.

If you enjoyed this, you might like to visit Jane's blog to read about her "Jerk-ish Chicken", also made with my Harissa...


  1. It looks lovely. I like to see the ways you're using your harissa.

  2. Sounds delicious! I wish we could cook spicier dishes at our house, but with the kids, dishes normally have to be fairly mild. We are taking some baby steps, so I'm happy about that - only a couple of years ago, any spiciness would have been rejected.

  3. that sauce looks exceptional and I do love an alternative seasoning to the roast chicken... yes please!


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