Harissa Tamari Roasted Chicken


Food is emotional.

The success of a dish is as much about the way it tastes as the way it makes you feel. Like snuggling up under a warm blanket at the end of an extremity-numbing winter day, this Harissa Tamari roasted chicken is warm and comforting. Umami tamari and savory harissa hug the edges of moist chicken, served with crispy shallot potatoes and finished with a tangy cumin kefir yogurt. This dish is perfectly timed for what can be a difficult time of the year: days are shorter and darker, and with the holiday season behind us we begin the count down to the long awaited arrival of Spring here on the North East. It’s the time of the year when most of us cling to the hope of a snow day so we can stay under the covers just a little bit longer. Whether you’re someone who revels in late January’s frosty temperatures, or someone who despises it, this dish is guaranteed to warm you on even the coldest days.

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This dish requires a bit of prep work, but don’t let that be the reason you don’t make it. Salt your chicken and soak your potatoes while you cuddle up under the aforementioned blanket and you’ll forget you had to prep at all. Too often we shy away from recipes that seem complicated, when in actuality all they require are a bit of multitasking (which if you’re reading this and you’re under the age of 35, I know you’re a professional at doing anyway because you just posted a selfie to Instagram while holding a conversation with your mom and replying to 3 of your friends texts).

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This dish is also incredibly versatile: play with plating and you can make it work for your most casual or most fancy dinner party. For the former, serve everything on parchment paper: cut the meat off the bones and place on top of the roasted potatoes. Put out with tongs, extra yogurt sauce, good olive oil, fresh arugula, lemon wedges and flaky salt, and your guests can make a perfect DIY plate. For the latter, allow the stunning red harissa to make a statement on white serveware: drizzle with yogurt and serve similarly with a simple side salad. P.S. it’s also totally cool to eat this dish alone (under that blanket, of course).

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Harissa Tamari Roasted Chicken with Crispy Potatoes and Cumin Yogurt

  • 2 chicken legs with thigh (bone in) - you can also do leg and thigh separately

  • 3/4 lb red potatoes

  • 2 tbsps New York Shuk Preserved Lemon Harissa (available for purchase in NY here and online here)

  • 1 tbsp Tamari

  • 2 lemons

  • 2 large shallots

  • 1/2 tsp cumin Seeds

  • 1/8 tsp Smoked paprika

  • 1/8 tsp Cumin

  • 1/4 goat milk Kefir (I use Redwood Hill Farm available here, and you can always sub plain greek yogurt)

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Maldon Sea Salt

  • Cast iron pan

  • Stainless steel pan

Coat your chicken legs in 1/2 tbsp salt and let sit for up to 1 day before cooking in your fridge, or 1-2 hours at room temperature before cooking (not longer for safety reasons!). Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Soak red potatoes in a bowl with cold water, 1-2 hours, removing extra starch. In a large pan add 2 quarts water and bring to a boil. Salt the water so that it is salty to the taste (as Samin Nosrat says, it should taste like the sea), approximately 2 tbsps. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile in a mixing bowl mix 2 tbsps New York Shuk Preserved Lemon Harissa, 1 tbsp tamari, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, and just shy of 1/4 tsp both smoked paprika and cumin. Mix well. Then add chicken to bowl and rub sauce into the meat, making sure to get it under the skin. Leave chicken in the marinade as you add 1 tbsp olive oil to your stainless steel pan and heat over medium high heat. Once olive oil is shimmering, put chicken in skin down with some but not all of the sauce from your mixing bowl - it should sizzle when you add it to the pan. Cook until skin is browned - about 8 minutes. If you see the sauce burning, turn the heat down a little. Chicken should release if gently moved.

Once browned, put pan in the oven to finish cooking the chicken. You will cook at 425 for 25 minutes.

Once chicken is in the oven, the water should be boiling for your potatoes. Add potatoes and par boil until your fork penetrates the potato just byond the surface but not all the way through, roughly 8 minutes. Be careful not to over boil the potatoes or you won’t be slice them. Remove the potatoes and immediately run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Cut potatoes in 1/8 inch thick slices using a mandoline or a sharp knife.

Cut your 2 shallots across into thin rounds. Toss any ends or save to use in another dish.

After the chicken has been in the oven about 10 minutes, wearing an oven mitt carefully spoon some of the juice from the bottom of the pan over the chicken. You can do this again when the chicken has about 5 minutes left.

Pull the chicken out after 25 minutes or until cooked through (internal temperature 165). Set aside to rest.

In your cast iron pan add enough extra virgin olive oil to sufficiently cover the bottom of the pan - about 1.5 tbsps (you can also use avocado oil or another neutral cooking oil). Heat over medium heat as the pan will get hot and stay hot. You will cook the potatoes in batches. Add 1/4 of your sliced shallots and allow to caramelize and cook down up to 10 minutes. Then add enough potatoes to cover the bottom of the pan, but not crowd it. Add more olive oil if the pan is getting dry as you don’t want the potatoes to stick to the bottom of the pan. Let brown on one side and then try to flip (3-5 mins depending on your pan so check often). Keep them as flat as possible so they cook evenly.  Once first batch of potatoes is browned remove and put on a platter., add more oil to the pan if needed, and repeat with the rest of shallots and potatoes.

To make the yogurt, add a little under 1/4 cup cold goat milk kefir to a small bowl. In a hot dry pan toast 1/2 tsp cumin seeds - about 1 min or until fragrant. Immediately mix into yogurt. Before serving add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You can prepare your yogurt sauce before you start cooking, or after. If you make it before, leave it in the fridge until food is ready.

Finally before serving reheat the rendered sauce and fat from the chicken over low heat on your stove top, scraping all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Spoon over chicken and potatoes. Drizzle with yogurt and serve.