Roasted Harissa Chicken

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Chicken! Oh, chicken! You don’t get enough credit. I hate when people immediately put you in the boring and blasé bucket. I know, sometimes people cook you far too long and you end up tasting like mulch.  Sometimes people dredge you in flour and lard and fry you into oblivion. You are misunderstood and stereotyped as common food. Honestly though,  you’re far too humble and should really start asserting yourself. Instead, you wait. You wait for someone to realize your true potential and elevate you to the ranks of filet mignon and Chilean sea bass.

There is nothing better than a whole roasted chicken. I think a lot of people are afraid to roast an entire bird but it’s really quite simple. You can be as basic as salt, pepper and olive oil or you can go crazy and experiment to your heart’s content. Carving does require some skill, but there are several YouTube videos out there to help any rookies in the kitchen.

I’m a huge fan of spice and lately I’ve been digging Harissa. If you aren’t familiar, Harissa is a crushed red chile paste originating from Tunisia. It’s a popular condiment in North African countries like Morocco, Libya and Algeria. Until creating this dish, I’ve never had Harissa with anything other than pita bread and/or raw veggies, but now I’ve realized its full culinary potential. It’s quite spicy, so if you are heat averse just use a little less or shop for a mild harissa paste.

This is a perfect candidate for a “one pan meal”. During the last 40 minutes of cooking, I threw in some diced new potatoes, a quartered fennel bulb and a couple sliced garlic cloves, all seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Yeah, we crushed this bird.

Yeah, we crushed this bird.

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole Chicken ($8.00)
  • 2.5 tbs Harissa (for those in the DMV, I used Harissa from Cava Mezze) ($.50)
  • 1 tbs olive oil ($.10)
  • 1 lemon ($.75)
  • salt and pepper

Total: $9.35

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425. Line roasting pan with aluminum foil.

Remove gizzard bag and rise chicken in cool water. Pat dry with paper towels.

Mix harissa and juice from 1/2 lemon. Loosen chicken skin and add harissa mix between skin and chicken. Add remaining paste to cavity and place 1/2 lemon inside cavity.

Rub chicken with 1 tbs olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.

Bake for 16 minutes at 425 then reduce heat to 400 and bake another 50-55 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from oven and let rest 5 minutes before carving.

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