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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chicken Thighs Roasted With Harissa Yogurt

Harissa is a tunisian sauce, which has been modified and experimented with all around the Arab world. The dry mix I used, from Bazaar Spices in DC, is called "Hot Tunisian Harissa Blend" (created by Aromatic Spice Blends) and combines coriander, cumin, caraway, garlic, dried lemon, dried red chili and paprika. This is a very traditional blend. The notes that stand out for me when smelling it are the cumin and caraway, which bring to mind warmth, comfort and fresh baked bread.

To really highlight this spice blend's strengths, I decided to make roasted chicken thighs. What's more comforting than a chicken dinner? I always pre-marinade my chicken in full-fat Greek yogurt because I personally don't like to cook with the skin, so the yogurt keeps the chicken moist and adds that bit of fat that is missing from eliminating the skin.

I used 8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin removed. I put them into a large plastic tupperware tub and added a cup of full fat Greek yogurt and 2 Tablespoons of the Harissa spice blend, about a teaspoon and a half of Kosher salt and about 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. I mixed it all up until each chicken piece was fully coated, and the spice mix was well integrated into the yogurt.  I put the dish into the refrigerator. You can let it sit overnight if you like. Give it at least one hour to get the yogurt marinade to penetrate the chicken.

Place the chicken in a glass baking dish. I always like to serve roast vegetables with my chicken, so in a separate small dish, I placed some baby carrots, drizzled them with olive oil, 1/2 tsp Harissa mix, salt and pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes until chicken has a nice golden color. Pair the chicken and carrots with a fresh salad and dinner is done!

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