This harissa roast chicken is a richly, deeply flavored dinner. Chicken is coated with a spice mix, sauteed, then slathered with harissa, cilantro pesto, lemon, garlic, and chiles before being baked to perfection atop potatoes.
We figured out how to make roast chicken and potatoes a little less ordinary. Actually, a lot less ordinary. Simply slather some chicken with a herby, tangy, spicy harissa sauce and roast it atop potatoes until the chicken skin is crisp and the underlying potatoes perfectly cooked. We may never go back to plain old roast chicken. (Actually, that’s not quite true. We love a good roast hen.)–Angie Zoobkoff
How to Make Your Own Tanoreen Spice
We love the exotic flavor that Tanoreen Spice adds to this chicken. Although chances are you may not have a batch on hand. Luckily, you can easily toss it together using common pantry spices. Simply combine 1 tablespoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1 tablespoon ground ginger.
Harissa Roast Chicken
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 2 H, 30 M
- Serves 4 to 8
- For the cilantro-basil pesto
- 1 cup packed chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup raw slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup olive oil, or as needed
- For the harissa roast chicken
- 2 chickens (2 1/2 to 3 pound | 1.1 to 1.3 kg), halved or quartered
- 2 tablespoons Tanoreen spice mix (See note above)
- 1/2 cup mild olive or vegetable oil
- 8 waxy potatoes (about 2 pounds | 900 g), such as red potatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch (12-mm) thick rounds
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup store-bought or homemade harissa
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup chopped shallots, from 4 to 5 shallots
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 2 poblano chiles, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons crushed dried Persian limes (optional)
- 1/4 cup cilantro-basil pesto (recipe follows), or 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil and 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 cups storebought or homemade chicken broth, or water
- Sea salt
- Make the cilantro-basil pesto
- 1. Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a blender or food processor and pulse until the garlic and almonds are completely broken down.
- 2. With the blender or food processor running, slowly add the oil in a steady stream through the hole in the lid until you have a smooth, perfectly blended sauce that’s thick but not pasty. If it’s too thick, add a little more oil. The sauce will keep, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks (or indefinitely in the freezer).
- Make the harissa roast chicken
- 3. Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).
- 4. In a large baking dish or roasting pan, toss the potatoes with 1/2 cup olive oil. Roast until just golden, about 25 minutes.
- 5. While the potatoes are roasting, place the chicken in a large bowl. Rub 1 tablespoon of the Tanoreen spices evenly over the chicken pieces, pressing gently so they adhere.
- 6. In a large, deep skillet set over medium-high heat, warm the olive or vegetable oil. Working in batches if necessary, sear the chicken pieces, turning once, until golden, 4 to 7 minutes per side.
- 7. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup oil, the harissa, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, chiles, crushed dried limes, if using, the remaining 1 tablespoon Tanoreen Spices, and the pesto or chopped herbs.
- 8. Remove the potatoes from the oven and place the seared chicken in a single layer on top of the potatoes. Brush the harissa mixture evenly over the chicken. Return the dish or pan to the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F (175°C).
- 9. Pour the chicken broth into the 4 corners of the baking dish, being careful not to let it splash on top of the chicken. Season everything with salt. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, return to the oven, and roast until the juices run clear when a knife is inserted between the leg and breast or a meat thermometer registers 165°F (75°C), about 75 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for 5 minutes more, or until golden and crisp, being careful not to let the hot pepper paste burn.