I remember eating the most delicious grilled sardines poolside at our hotel in Marrakesh slathered with the most delicious spice paste called Harrisa. The layers of flavors left me satisfied and exhilarated. The wonderful thing about a condiment like Harissa is that although it is a bit involved to make, it can be used to transform a humble roasted chicken into a regal North African meal. Because of the chilies and salt, it will also keep for up to a month and can also be added to stews, broths and sautéed vegetables for many weeks to come.
It is also quite versatile and can be adjusted for heat depending on the type of peppers you choose and allows you to add a lot of flavor without piling on the calories. For those cooking for one or two, you don’t have to make a whole roasted chicken. This works perfectly on chicken parts, especially thighs or on skewered chicken pieces. Serve with quinoa or tabouli and a slightly sweet Riesling from Paumanok Vineyards for a delicious and Trimmer Tuesday.
1⁄2 small can of “Chipotle en Adobo” peppers
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 1⁄2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1⁄8 tsp. caraway seeds
1⁄8 tsp. coriander seeds
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more
1 (3 1⁄2-to-4-lb.) whole chicken
1 tbsp. celery seeds
Toast all the seeds in a large sauté pan on low flame so as not to burn them. Empty into a plate and allow to cool.
In a blender or small food processor, combine the Chipotle peppers with the oil, vinegar, cumin, caraway and coriander seeds and garlic. Season with salt and purée until smooth. Scrape the harissa into a bowl and set aside 2 tablespoons; reserve the remaining for another use.
Using kitchen shears, cut along each side of the chicken’s backbone and remove it. Turn the chicken breast-side-up and press to flatten the chicken. Transfer the chicken, skin side up, to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and rub the chicken all over with the harissa, the 1 tablespoon salt, and the celery seeds. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Heat the oven to 425°. Roast or grill the chicken (or parts) until golden brown, about 35 minutes, then let stand 15 minutes before serving.
adapted from saveur.comShare on Facebook