Harissa-Yogurt Baked Chicken Thighs

Chicken is so versatile and this Harissa-Yogurt Baked Chicken Thighs recipe is an example of just that. The list of ingredients is minimal, unless you are going to make your own harissa, a spicy traditional moroccan red pepper sauce (recipe follows.) Harissa is a condiment made of spicy chiles, somewhat similar to gochujang. Look for it in jars, cans or tubes in the international foods section. You can also sometimes find it as a spice powder instead of a paste.

It’s used often in North African and Middle Eastern cooking, adding a kick to dishes like tagines. Ingredients vary, but harissa commonly contains smoked chiles, garlic, olive oil, cumin and caraway. And one way to simplify making your own, is to buy jarred fire roasted red peppers instead of charring bell peppers on the stove or grill.

Harissa pastes vary in heat level. Taste some of the harissa-yogurt sauce before putting it on the chicken, and adjust the amount of harissa paste to your liking. The paste will last for about a month, once opened, or made. Store it in the refrigerator with a light layer of olive oil on top to help keep it fresh. Alternatively, you can freeze small amounts in ice cube trays and defrost cubes as needed.

And the Roasted Chickpea, Avocado and Feta Salad is such a refreshing and different side dish. Crunchy roasted chickpeas add a surprising element to this simple salad, which pairs well with both Middle Eastern and Latin American flavors, such as this entrée.

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Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 to 2 Tbs. harissa paste
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

Directions

  • Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat to 425°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a rack over it.
  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and put them on the rack, smoother side up.
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  • In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste. Add the harissa to taste, and stir to combine.
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  • Spoon the yogurt mixture over the chicken. Bake until the chicken is cooked through (165°F), about 20 minutes.
  • Heat the broiler on medium, and broil until the yogurt sauce is just starting to blacken in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the mint before serving
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Roasted Chickpea, Avocado, and Feta Salad

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Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice, more to taste
  • 2 oz. feta, finely crumbled
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

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Directions

  • Heat the oven to 400°F.
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  • Spread the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet, and pat dry. Toss with the oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast until golden and slightly crunchy, 25 to 30 minutes.
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  • Mash the avocado with the lime juice, and spread on a platter or divide among plates. Top with the chickpeas, feta, and scallions. Season to taste with salt and more lime juice.
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By recipes from Erica Clark

Homemade Harissa Paste:

Ingredients

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped (scant 2/3 cup / 90 g in total)
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 hot red chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Place the pepper under a very hot broiler, turning occasionally for about 25 minutes, until blackened on the outside and completely soft. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to cool. Peel the pepper and discard its skin and seeds. (Or simply buy a jar of fire roasted red peppers.)
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  2. Place a dry frying pan over low heat and lightly toast the coriander, cumin, and caraway seeds for 2 minutes. Remove them to a mortar and use a pestle to grind to a powder.
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  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, and fry the onion, garlic, and chiles for 10 to 12 minutes, until a dark smoky color and almost caramelized.
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  4. Now use a blender or a food processor to blitz together all of the paste ingredients until smooth, adding a little more oil if needed.
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  5. Store in a sterilized jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or even longer.

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