Roasted Harissa Chicken

Whole Roasted Harissa Chicken with Saffron Rice and Lemon Parsley Yogurt Sauce


Harissa Chicken 

Saffron Rice:

  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 cup basmati rice, well rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 lemon sliced

Lemony parsley yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 T lemon juice lemon
  • 1 cup plain greek style yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • cracked pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 F
  2. Rinse and pat dry chicken (getting the skin really dry ensures that it will get crispy).
  3. In a dry skillet lightly toast the whole spices, over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, just until fragrant.
  4. Using a mortar and pestle ( or food processor) grind the garlic with the salt into a paste. Add the toasted spices, paprika,  pepper, crumbled chile, and olive oil and mash into a paste. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth.
  5. Rub the pasted all over the chicken, getting in all the nooks and crannies and placing any extra inside the cavity of the bird. Tress, tying legs together and tucking the wings in.
  6. Place on a cast iron skillet or  sheet pan, breast side up. Place in the oven for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours depending on weight. It is done when the thigh is 170 F, or juices run clear.
  7. Let chicken rest 15 minutes before cutting into.

Note: All ovens are different. If using an electric oven, check chicken at 25 minutes. If the skin looks like it will over brown if kept at the same temp, turn the heat down a bit. It may take a little longer to roast longer, but this will keep the skin from getting too dark. In my oven at home, the 425F gas oven produces a perfectly browned chicken.


Saffron Rice:

  1. In a medium pot, saute onion in olive oil, on medium heat until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the diced tomato and pinch saffron (crumbled with your fingers). Saute 2 minutes.
  2. Add well-rinsed rice. Saute 1 minute. Add chicken stock and salt. Top with lemon slices. Turn heat to high, cover and bring to a boil, and turn heat to the lowest setting and simmer until water is gone and rice is cooked about 15-20 minutes.

Lemon Parsley Sauce:

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until incorporated, but not too smooth.


Substitute veggies for a “one-pot” meal version. Chop veggies ( carrots, potatoes, parsnips, fennel, onion, celery…or whatever you like) into bigger bite-sized pieces and toss with salt pepper and olive oil. Line the bottom of a skillet or roasting pan with the vegetables and top with sliced lemon. Place the chicken directly on top. Roast.




Keywords: Whole roasted harissa chicken , whole roasted chicken

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