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Harissa Happy

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I brought the January 2014 issue of Bon Appetit on the plane to NY with me for some reading material. With any issue of Bon Appetit, I like to flag the recipes that I want to try with colored tags, so that I can later go back find them easily. I must admit, I got a little carried away with the most recent issue, but it had so many great healthy recipes to kick off the new year!

photo 3

One that I was particularly interested in trying my hand at was Pan-roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas. I have never used Harissa in a recipe before, so I didn’t know what it looked or tasted like, or if it would be easy to find (of course my trusty Falletti Foods had a tube of Harissa paste). I had read in Bon Appetit that it was a “spicy North African red chile paste” but I must have forgot about the “spicy” part when I licked the remainder of the paste from the spoon – wow! I’m never one to turn down spiciness so I was excited to see how this dish would turn out. Yes, it was spicy – and yes, it was delicious!


Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas (serves 4)

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup Harissa Paste
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 TB chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Falletti Foods was out of thighs, so the butcher broke up some full legs for me – which worked just fine. Most importantly, you want smaller pieces of chicken with the bone in and skin on, and typically thighs are best for this. They also have the juiciest meat!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, then heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet. Braise the chicken for 5 minutes on each side, then transfer to a plate. Pour out most of the rendered oil, leaving about a tablespoon.

braised chicken


Add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft – about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and sauté for another minute, then add chickpeas, Harissa and chicken broth and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then nestle chicken pieces into the chickpeas and transfer to oven and cook for 25 minutes. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges, and serve!

photo 4

Not only was this meal super easy and quick to make, but it was delicious! The spice was intense, so this is certainly not a meal for children or people who can’t handle spicy food. And I highly recommend squeezing a bit of lemon over the chicken to add some zest to the plate.


I paired this dish with a Round Pond 2012 Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc that I purchased last February when I visited the winery with my family (over the holiday my dad reminded me that I should drink it soon). The wine has a good acid balance, with flavors of citrus and honeydew that juxtapose nicely with the spice in the Harissa. The wine even developed a bit of a pleasant nutty flavor when paired with the meal. I very much enjoyed this wine, but this meal would pair well with any crisp Sauvignon Blanc from Northern California, as well as a Chenin Blanc from South Africa.

About Kelsey

Kelsey is a food and wine lover residing in Napa, California, where she does marketing for a boutique wine collective. She previously lived in San Francisco for over six years, where her blogging journey began. She loves to cook seasonal meals and experiment with new wine pairings. She has been drinking and learning about wine with her father since she was 14, and cooking in the kitchen with her mother since she was 6. Both of her parents taught her well about seasoning and flavors, and she continues to learn more with every meal that is made.

7 responses »

  1. This might be a stupid question (I am by no means an experienced cook), but when you say “transfer to oven and cook for 25 minutes”, does that include the chicken as well as the tomato/chickpea/Harissa combo? I ask because this sounds delicious and I want to try asap! I also don’t want to under or overcook my chicken. 🙂

  2. Okay, I guess this will have to be the next new Chicken recipe I make!!!

  3. I’ve been thinking about this recipe ever since you posted it and finally got around to making it! It was a huge hit! Andrew loved it too 🙂


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