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Harissa & Lemon Chicken Tray Bake

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Add some sweet potatoes and cauliflower and you have a "winner..." well, you know the rest. 

This was voted one of the favorite meals I've made since I've moved here to Lake Havasu City. This got a resounding all thumbs up from my family. It's one of my favorites also. 
I'm still in transition, living half in and out of boxes. I know I packed my jars of Harissa but couldn't find either one of them so I made my own. 
It turned out to be a good thing because I learned how really easy it is to make. 

I know you won't over-roast your peppers as I did. I tasted the little charred bits and they were tasty, a little bit sweet so I added the whole lot to the food processor and pulsed away. I didn't peel the peppers either. Hummm no wonder I think harissa is so easy to make. 

One variation of the basic harissa recipe (included) is fragrant harissa. While the peppers are roasting toast 1 tablespoon each of fennel, cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes until fragrant. Roughly grind the toasted spices, set aside. 


In a large saucepan heat the olive oil and add the roasted pepper mixture. Here is where you are going to add the ground spices. 


After simmering the pepper mixture for about 45 minutes, add fresh lemon juice to taste, and you're done.

See how much darker and richer the peppers are after simmering for a while. 

The recipe calls for red chilis also. Add as many as you like depending on how spicy you want your harissa. Once again, I have a family member that doesn't care for spicy food so I left them out. 

Now that we have the harissa made, on to the marinade for the chicken and veggies. 


You'll need, vegetable broth, olive oil, the zest and juice of lemons, coriander/cilantro, garlic, harissa, and salt. Whisk it all together in a bowl. I used the measuring cup the broth was in. 


The vegetables you need for the chicken are sweet potatoes, onions, lemons, garlic, and cauliflower. 

After getting the chicken seriously coated with the marinade,  it was placed in the roasting pan on a bed of sliced onion, then the potatoes and cauliflower were added and it was all topped with the sliced lemons, popped into a 375*F oven for about an hour. 

A seriously delicious meal. I hope you try it


Harissa & Lemon Chicken Tray Bake

Serves 4 

2 onions (400g), sliced
8 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
4 large chicken legs
1 large sweet potato (250g), cut into large chunks
300g cauliflower florets
2 lemons, sliced


200ml vegetable stock
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 tablespoons Harissa plus extra to serve
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
3/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste    

koko's note:
I roasted the chicken at 375*F

Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan), Gas Mark 6.   

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.    Spread the onions out in a deep roasting tin and scatter the garlic cloves all over. Place the chicken legs, skin-side up, on top with the sweet potato chunks and cauliflower florets. Pour over the marinade and turn the chicken legs several times to ensure that they are fully coated with the marinade. Top the whole dish with the lemon slices.    Bake for about 1 hour or until the chicken is golden and cooked through. Serve the chicken and vegetables immediately with extra harissa.

Harissa Basic Recipe

1kg red peppers (about 8)
1–4 red chillies (any type), depending on how spicy you want your harissa
7 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
olive oil    

koko's note:
I roasted the peppers at 350*F

Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan), Gas Mark 3½.

Line a roasting tray with foil. Cut the red peppers and the chillies into quarters lengthways, then remove and discard the cores, veins and seeds. Place them, skin-side up, in the lined roasting tray. Roast for about 40 minutes or until the skins of the peppers start to look wrinkly.    Remove from the oven and leave the peppers and chillies until cool enough to handle, then remove the skins from the peppers and chop everything finely with a knife or use a food processor to pulse to a coarse purée.    

Heat 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the roasted pepper mixture and the garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low and leave to simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 35–45 minutes until the mixture looks darker, all the liquid from the peppers and chillies has evaporated and the mixture has dried out (the only liquid you should see is oil). Taste and season with salt as necessary.    When your harissa is ready, transfer it to a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid that has some room to spare at the top. Pour in enough olive oil to completely cover the harissa – this acts as  natural preservative and allows you to store the harissa for longer – then seal the jar. Store the harissa in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 1 month. Enjoy with everything!

Casablanca: My Moroccan Food Cookbook


And that's that!