While I’m a true believer that every season is grilling season, it’s spring and that means I can officially share my favorite grill recipes without alienating my east coast friends. This Harissa Grilled Chicken is one of my absolute favorites, year round, but now it’s seasonally appropriate to profess my love.
This recipe, from the Zahav cookbook, is maybe my favorite in a book of incredible recipes. The spicy harissa is toned down by blending with onions, lemon juice and oil to create a vibrant marinade that’s good on everything (trust – I’ve put it on chicken, meat, seafood and even used it as a dip). Here, I’m sticking with the original recipe because chicken thighs are cheap, juicy and can’t be overcooked.
I like to serve this chicken with simply grilled veggies, because the chicken is a star and nothing should even try to compete. Plus, the entire meal comes together in 20 minutes (aside from marinade time) and uses like 4 dishes. I have yet to find another recipe that’s this good for so little effort.
Harissa Grilled Chicken
This spicy harissa marinade comes together in minutes, and creates an addicting, semi-spicy sauce that's perfect for grilled chicken. Use boneless skinless chicken thighs - they are cheap, juicy and impossible to overcook. From the Zahav cookbook that I love so dearly.
- 1/4 cup harissa Each jar or tube of harissa contains a different spice level. If you are sensitive to spice, start with 1/8 cup and add additional harissa to taste.
- 1/4 cup olive or canola oil
- 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
Add all ingredients other than chicken to a blender and blend until smooth to create the marinade.
In a large freezer bag or dish, cover the chicken in the marinade. Marinade for as little as one hour, or up to 24 hours. In a pinch, I've marinated for 20 minutes and the chicken has still been delish.
Preheat the grill to high heat. Shake off excess marinade, and grill 6-8 minutes per side. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Harissa is an African chili paste that can usually be found at specialty markets, Trader Joe's, or most reliably online at Amazon. Every jar or tube has a different spice level, so be judicious if you are sensitive to spice, but remember that the flavor of the marinade itself will always be more intense than the end result.
I like to serve this dish with simply grilled veggies, for a fuss-free dinner that's ready in 20 minutes.