This will be amongst the most boring recipes I have ever shared with you. Quite frankly those incapable of boiling an egg could make this but the idea is that the colours are lovely and vibrant and harissa is absolutely the BEST THING EVER invented! David and I spent the summer consuming vast amounts of harissa, both the homemade and supermarket varieties – for what it’s worth Tesco beats Asda. I once made a slow roast lamb, which is charted on here, and that was soaked in harissa and pomegranate molasses and it was again, completely delicious, meaty perfection.
I think all harissas must be different, and you sometimes see Rose Harissa, not in Smithdown Rd Asda where a banana is considered exotic but in far flung luxurious places like Ocado and Waitrose. The basis of a good harissa being chillis, garlic and olive oil, the quantities of each presumably being up to the paste-maker or the different culture. It’s the most wonderful fiery, savoury flavour and it transforms anything humble into something a bit exotic.
The roasted vegetables beneath were simply the combination of what was in my veg box and looking wrinkly. I have always loved the combination of red pepper, sweet potato and red onions and I added parsnips too. At the very last minute, I stirred through a heap of rocket for brightness and freshness but it was utterly simple and foolproof.
This isn’t a wild, weekend supper but it’s a brilliant weeknight, in oven, exhaustion, pass out with Bake Off kind of a meal and the harissa is zingy enough to keep the January S.A.D at bay!
Harissa Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 red onions
- 2 red peppers
- 2 parsnips
- 200g rocket leaves
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- rosemary, thyme leaves (the choice is yours)
- 2 chicken breasts
- harissa paste
- sour cream
- chives, chopped
- Preheat an oven to 180C.
- In a large roasting tray, pie dish, gratin dish etc, throw your chopped root vegetables, I tend to go for pretty big chunks (it stops them from overcooking and gnarling around the edges). Add some olive oil, salt and pepper and fresh herbs and shake about with your hands until coated and lovely looking. Put in the oven.
- In a bowl, mix the harissa paste with some lemon juice and add the chicken breasts, coating them as much as possible. Leave these for as long as you have, if you want to be completely organised, you could do this the night before.
- Once the vegetables have been cooking for about 20 minutes, add the harissa chicken to the top of the vegetables and place back in the oven. Cook for another 20 minutes.
- When cooked through, remove from the oven. Stir the rocket through the vegetables and serve with a dollop of soured cream and a handful of chopped chives.