Dec 9, 2015

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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For the longest time I wasn’t a fan of spicy foods, I couldn’t handle the heat. Pepperoni was even too spicy for me, but I have some a long way since then. Now 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.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Lentils

chicken thigh mina harissa 2

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

  1. Add lentils to saucepan. Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh strainer for about 30 seconds. Gently shake to drain. Add the lentils and 2 ½ cups of the chicken stock to a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook lentils. Simmer the lentils, stirring occasionally, until all the stock has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Sear chicken. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter, and allow the butter to melt. 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 from the pan and set aside.
  4. Sauté onions. 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 10 minutes.
  5. Make the harissa base. Stir in the tomato paste and harissa and cook for a minute. Stir in the diced tomatoes; turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  6. Finish cooking the chicken. Add the sugar to adjust the acidity. Stir in the lentils and the remaining chicken stock then add the chicken back to the pan. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until the chicken thighs are completely cooked through.
  7. Assemble and serve. Serve warm with brown rice.

Other Recipes to Try

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

Pan-roasted Chicken with Harissa Lentils

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 3 ½ cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 5 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 diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions:

  • Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh strainer for about 30 seconds. Gently shake to drain. Add the lentils and 2 ½ cups of the chicken stock to a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Simmer the lentils, stirring occasionally, until all the stock has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Place a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter, and allow the butter to melt. 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 from the pan 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 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and harissa and cook for a minute. Stir in the diced tomatoes; turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  • Add the sugar to adjust the acidity. Stir in the lentils and the remaining chicken stock then add the chicken back to the pan. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until the chicken thighs are completely cooked through.
  • Serve warm with brown rice.

Notes:

*Note: harissa is a spicy North African paste and can be found at specialty grocery stores, most Whole Foods or online here.

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