Crispy-Skinned Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas and Lemony Kale

Harissa chickpeas

I have no idea why I decided to photograph the piece of chicken that has a burnt onion stuck to it. Now that my perplexion is out of the way, let me tell you about this recipe. It is fabulous! The chicken is pan seared and then roasted on top of a delicious concoction of chickpeas and harissa broth. Harissa seems to be the hot (literally) new ingredient- it is a spicy Moroccan pepper sauce or paste that adds a ton of flavor and interest to whatever you add it to. I have a jar of green harissa sauce that I have previously mixed in with quesadilla fillings, and it worked equally as well in this dish. The very flavorful broth somehow manages to permeate the chicken while it roasts so that the meat is very moist and aromatic. But the chickpeas are the true star of this meal. They are perfectly tender, and the ones near the top of the pan get slightly caramelized and chewy and crave-worthy. I’ll definitely make this pan of goodness again and again.

Harissa chickpeas

To make this chicken dish, get 8 bone-in chicken thighs (or 4 chicken hind quarters separated into legs and thighs). Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a very large, oven-proof skillet with some oil, and sear the chicken on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a side plate. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the skillet.

Harissa chickpeas

Preheat your oven to 425º F. Dice 1 small onion and mince 2 garlic cloves. Add them to the to the skillet, and sweat them until they become translucent. Then, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the skillet, along with 1/4 cup of harissa sauce or paste and 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Because the tomato paste was red and my harissa sauce was green, my sauce turned a nice shade of brown. If you use red harissa, it should look much prettier. Add 2 15 ounce cans of rinsed chickpeas to the skillet, and stir everything around. Taste the sauce and season it accordingly. Bring the liquid to a simmer.

Harissa chickpeas

Nestle the chicken into the skillet with the chickpeas skin side up. Transfer the skillet to the oven, and let the chicken roast for about 30 minutes until it is fully cooked (internal temperature of 165º F). While the chicken cooks, prepare the lemony kale. Tear up about 4 cups of kale leaves (minus the stems). Add a drizzle of olive oil to a pan over medium heat, and grate in some lemon zest. Add the kale, and cook it until it just begins to darken. Then, pour in a few tablespoons of chicken stock, put a lid on the pan, and allow the kale to steam. Give the kale an occasional stir. When it is wilted and tender, it’s done.

Harissa chickpeas

It was also nice serving this meal with cous cous to soak up the harissa sauce, so make that while the chicken cooks as well. When the chicken comes out of the oven, the skin should be crispy and the chickpeas should be tender. Squeeze over some lemon juice and sprinkle over some chopped parsley (I always forget about the parsley…it’s still sitting in my refrigerator!).

Harissa chickpeas

Transfer everything to a plate and enjoy this hearty but very healthy meal. We had a lot of leftovers, so the next night, I cooked some cracked rye and added it to a large bowl. I topped the rye with the leftover kale. I pulled the chicken off of the bones and chopped it up. I rewarmed the chicken in the chickpeas, and added it on top of the kale. We mixed everything together and had a really satisfying harissa chickpea bowl. I am hungry for it all again!

This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit.

Shopping list:

  • Chicken thighs/legs- 8
  • Onion- 1, small
  • Garlic- 2 cloves
  • Tomato paste- 2 tablespoons
  • Harissa sauce or paste- 1/4 cup
  • Chicken stock- 1/2 cup
  • Chickpeas- 30 ounces
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley
  • Lemon- 1
  • Kale- 4 cups
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Crispy-Skinned Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas and Lemony Kale — 3 Comments

  1. This was yummy but no one in any supermarket around me has heard of harissa sauce. I used chili powder instead but it was still delicious and healthy!

    • Harissa seems to be a trending ingredient, so maybe it will make it to your markets soon! I am glad that you found a way to adapt the recipe, so thanks sharing your harissa replacement idea with us.

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