Dec 9, 2015

One-Pan Chicken Thighs with Harissa Lentils

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
The spicy North African condiment livens up the lentils without overpowering the other flavors. If you aren’t a big fan of spicy foods add a little harissa at a time.

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I enjoy the depth a spice mixture like harissa adds to a dish. The spicy North African condiment livens up the lentils without overpowering the other flavors. If you aren’t a big fan of spicy foods add a little harissa at a time to adjust according to preference. This meal can be made in one pan – the chicken thighs are first seared then the onions and garlic are cooked in the rendered fat, negating the need for additional fat like butter. The base of the sauce is made from harissa, tomatoes and stock which the lentils cook in until tender. The chicken is added back to the pan to finish cooking for a great, healthy-ish one pan dinner.

One-Pan Chicken Thighs with Harissa Lentils

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Lentils – I use brown lentils in this recipe. They are considered the most “standard” lentils and are easy to find by the rice in the grocery store.
  • Harissa – Harissa is a North African spice paste, specifically from Tunisia. It’s made from red chilies, garlic, oil, vinegar or lemon and aromatic spices like cumin, coriander and caraway. This spicy and smokey condiment adds a great depth to a dish. It can be found in tubes or jars at the grocery store or can be made at home.
  • Chicken thighs – Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs are a great cut because they are typically inexpensive but they stay moist as they cook and if seared then the skin gets crispy.

How to Make Chicken Thighs with Harissa Lentils

Step 1: Sear chicken thighs

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken thighs on all sides, about 5 minutes per side, and remove to a plate and set aside.

Step 2: Cook onions and garlic.

Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté in the remaining chicken fat oil mixture, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 6 minutes.

Step 3: Add tomatoes and harissa.

Stir in the tomato paste and harissa and cook for a minute. Stir in the tomatoes and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Step 4: Add the lentils.

Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh strainer and gently shake to drain. Add the lentils and chicken stock to the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally until the lentils are just tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Step 5: Cook the lentils

Simmer the lentils, stirring occasionally, until all the stock has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.

Step 6: Finish cooking the chicken.

Stir in the sugar to adjust the acidity if needed. Nestle the the seared chicken thighs back to the pan. Cook until the chicken thighs are completely cooked through, about an additional 10 minutes.

Step 7: Serve.

Garnish with cilantro. Serve warm ladled into bowls or with a side of brown rice

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • Add greens like spinach or kale to the lentils before adding the chicken thighs back to the pan, cooking until just wilted.
  • If the lentils cook too quickly and the chicken stock absorbs too fast, add more, 1/4 cup at a time.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this harissa lentil stew recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

One-Pan Chicken Thighs with Harissa Lentils

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons harissa, (I use Mina Harissa)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions:

  • Place a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken thighs on all sides, about 5 minutes per side, and remove to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté in the remaining chicken fat oil mixture, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 6 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and harissa and cook for a minute. Stir in the tomatoes and turn the heat down to medium-low.
  • Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh strainer and gently shake to drain. Add the lentils and chicken stock to the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally until the lentils are just tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Simmer the lentils, stirring occasionally, until all the stock has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the sugar to adjust the acidity if needed. Nestle the the seared chicken thighs back to the pan. Cook until the chicken thighs are completely cooked through, about an additional 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Serve warm ladled into bowls or with a side of brown rice.

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