There is nothing more comforting than a braised meat, especially when the weather can’t seem to decide what season it wants to be! That is one of the reasons why this braised harissa chicken has been one of our favorite meals as we transition from winter into spring.
It’s cozy warm and packed with flavor yet it simmers on the stove and comes together in less than an hour. All the benefits of slow braised meat dish but without hours of running your oven.
Harissa is a chile paste that originated in Tunisa but can be found in a variety of Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean dishes. Most commonly it comes in jarred sauce or paste form but you may also see dried ground harissa seasoning in your spice section of the grocery store. The combination of spicy chilis blended with olive oil, garlic and warming spices such as cumin and coriander make it an easy addition to many dishes to give them an added depth of flavor and hint of spice.
This dish is perfect for dinner parties and weeknight meals alike because it is decadent but doesn’t require a lot of time or hands on effort. Simply sauté, build your sauce and let it simmer on the stove. Add the 3 ingredient glaze at the end and you have the most tender, flavorful chicken in under 60 minutes.
For serving, I like this braised harissa chicken over a hearty grain such as brown rice or farro with a nice heaping spoonful of the braising liquid over top but you could easily serve with mashed potatoes or a thick noodle like papardelle.
Braised Harissa Chicken
For the Chicken
- 6 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- salt to taste
For the Glaze
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
Pat your chicken thighs dry and trim any excess loose skin before seasoning with kosher salt, cumin and coriander.
In a large skillet over medium heat, sear chicken thighs skin side down in 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter until skin starts to turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and sear about 2 minutes on the other side. Be sure not to crowd the skillet so all chicken thighs can brown easily, you may need to do this in 2 batches. Remove seared chicken to a plate.
To the pan drippings, add an additional tablespoon of butter, the harissa paste, onions and garlic. Sauté stirring often for 2-3 minutes until onions start to cook down and the harissa paste smells fragrant. Add your chicken back to the pan skin side up and pour in 1 cup of chicken stock so the chicken thighs are submerged about halfway in liquid.
Simmer covered on medium low heat for 20 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer uncovered for 15 more minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160*
Mix together glaze ingredients: harissa, lemon juice and honey in a small bowl and spoon or brush over the chicken. Optional: broil the chicken, skin side up, after you glaze for 3-4 minutes for an extra charred flavor and crispier skin.