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Harissa spatchcock chicken recipe

Harissa spatchcock chicken recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Cuts of chicken
  • Whole chicken
  • Whole roast chicken

This is a great all round the year dish, on the BBQ lazy summers evening or winter comfort dish. Serve up with roast veg couscous, salad and flat breads.

Yorkshire, England, UK

7 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 1 whole large chicken
  • 250g soft butter
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 2 heaped teaspoons smoked paprika
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 2 bulbs garlic, halved lengthways
  • 1 bunch rosemary

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:1hr30min ›Extra time:10min resting › Ready in:2hr10min

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C / Gas 6.
  2. To spatchcock the chicken, turn the chicken upside down, so the breast is facing down. With either a pair of kitchen scissors or a very sharp large kitchen knife, cut from the neck all the way down to the bottom end of the chicken and take out the spine part. Turn the chicken breast side up and with both hands press down on the top part of the chicken where the breast is until you hear the breast bone crack and the chicken flattens out.
  3. With your hand (remove any sharp rings first) separate the chicken skin from the flesh ensuring you don't tear the skin. Leave the skin still attached so that all you are doing is creating a large pocket.
  4. Combine the butter and the harissa in a bowl then rub the mixture in-between the flesh and skin, ensuring you cover the legs as well.
  5. With the rest of the ingredients, except the two bulbs of garlic and rosemary, place in a mortar and pestle and while adding the lemon juice and olive oil, grind the ingredients until a paste is made.
  6. Rub the paste all over the chicken skin then place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting tin over a bed of the garlic bulbs and rosemary. Cover the chicken in tin foil making a slight dome to help contain the steam.
  7. Roast on the middle shelf for 1 hour. Then remove the tin foil and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Pour any drippings into a small jug to be served with the chicken and use the roasted garlic in your side dishes.


If your wanting to use the BBQ to cook the chicken I personally I would cook the chicken for an hour covered in tinfoil in the oven, then for the last 30 minutes cook it on BBQ, ensure the juices are clear before serving.

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Harissa Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

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This Harissa Roasted Chicken and Potatoes is a one pan dinner that features a beautiful spatchcock chicken with crispy skin, a spicy kick, and herbaceous roasted potatoes with pearl onions.

Have you ever tried harissa? This is no ordinary chilli paste. This North African liquid gold is made with hot peppers, garlic, saffron, caraway, and coriander. But, don’t be fooled by these aromatic flavors! This stuff packs the heat. We used it sparingly on our chicken but if you’re up for the challenge, you can pack on as much as you’d like.

Our new favorite method for roasting chicken, that you’ll see here, is called “spatchcock“. With this technique of preparing a whole chicken, you’ll use scissors to remove the spine of the chicken, break the breastbone to flatten it, and voila! The skin is now fully exposed for optimal crispiness, and you can have it fully cooked in only 45 minutes – 1 hour. How amazing is that?

Before you throw out your chicken’s spine and the wing tips, STOP! Keep it in your freezer for the next time you make a big batch of homemade chicken stock. You wont believe how much deep flavor you can get by simmering those pieces.


For the chicken:

To spatchcock the chicken, place it breast-side down, with the legs towards you. Using sturdy scissors, cut along either side of the backbone to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go. Open the chicken out and turn over. Flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the meat is all one thickness. Add the preserved lemons, garlic, olives, harissa and olive oil in a bowl and mix well.

Place the spatchcocked chicken in a roasting tray and rub the preserved lemon and harissa mix all over the chicken. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

For the bulgur wheat salad:

While the chicken is roasting, prepare the bulgur wheat salad. Place the bulgur in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water to cover. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to soak for 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.

Fluff up with a fork, then stir in the cucumber, spring onions, and herbs.

Whisk the oil, lemon juice and garlic together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the bulgur wheat salad and toss to coat.

Transfer the roast spatchcocked chicken to the center of a large, warmed platter and spoon the bulgur wheat salad around the chicken to serve.

Recipe Summary

  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • water
  • 1 (4 pound) whole chicken
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce, or to taste (Optional)

Place salt in a large bowl or Dutch oven and add a little water. Stir until salt is dissolved. Unwrap the chicken and place in the salt water brine. Add enough water to cover the bird and refrigerate up to 4 hours.

Remove chicken from the water, drain, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast-side down on a clean cutting board.

Cut along both sides of the backbone of the chicken with kitchen shears. Remove bone and reserve for another use or discard. With the skin-side down, cut down into the breast bone and a bit of the cartilage above the bone about 1/4-inch deep using the tip of a sharp knife. Turn the chicken skin-side up.

Place the heel of one hand on top of the other wrist, and using the heel of the hand, press down on the center of the breast, above the area of the cut, to flatten the center and achieve a more uniform thickness of the chicken.

Combine smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub spice mix onto both sides of the chicken, gently lifting the skin wherever possible to place some of the rub directly onto the meat. Refrigerate seasoned chicken uncovered for at least 2 hours.

Remove chicken from the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before grilling so it can come to room temperature.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat to about 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly oil the grate.

Place chicken bone-side down onto the preheated grill and cook for 50 to 60 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 150 degrees F (65 degrees C). Flip the chicken skin-side up and brush with barbecue sauce. Continue grilling until chicken is no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 20 more minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Remove to a platter, tent with foil, and allow chicken to rest, about 10 minutes. Cut chicken into 6 servings and serve with additional barbecue sauce, if desired.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 (3 1/2) pound whole chickens, wingtips removed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced and seeded

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Place chicken, breast side down, on a work surface. Starting at the tail end, cut along both sides of backbone with kitchen shears. Remove backbone. Grabbing hold of both sides of the chicken, open it like a book. Turn breast side up. Push down on each side of breast with your hands until you hear it crack. Flatten chicken and transfer to one short end of the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the second chicken.

Combine salt, tarragon, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl. Stir in oil. Run your fingers under chicken skin and rub tarragon paste under skin. Slide lemon slices under skin, in a single layer.

Roast until skin is crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast reads 165 degrees F, about 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting each chicken into 8 pieces.


Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).

Using some kitchen scissors cut the chicken down both sides of the backbone. Open the chicken up and push down firmly on the breast spreading the chicken flat.

Rub the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the harissa paste, 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt. Place onto a roasting tray and bake for 25 minutes.

Place the diced kumara, carrots and pumpkin into a separate roasting tray and lightly toss in the remaining oil and season with salt.

Roast the vegetables for 15 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, cook the couscous as per the packet instructions before plating.

Once the vegetables are cooked, remove from the oven and combine with the warm couscous, butter, dates, tomatoes, remaining harissa paste and half of the mint and coriander.

Spread the couscous mixture onto a serving platter.

Remove the chicken and allow to rest. Cut into 8 pieces and lay on top of couscous, followed by a drizzling of yoghurt and garnish with the remaining mint and coriander.

PER SERVE • Energy 4378Kj • Protein 87g • Total Fat 42g • Saturated Fat 13g • Carbohydrates 75g • Sugars 38g • Sodium 492mg

June 20

The wonderful things about marinating meat is that you can prepare them so far in adavance. Pop the meat in the marinate in a releasable bag in the fridge overnight and the flavours will intensify. Marinated meat can also be frozen. This jerk chicken marinade is quite quirky and has lots of interesting flavours like lime juice, cinnamon, honey and ginger. It sounds like an odd combination but makes for many layers of flavours and served straight from the BBQ with this mango salsa, it’s total sunshine food.


Spatchcock Roast Chicken


  • ▢ 1 whole (3 to 5 pound) roaster chicken
  • ▢ 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter softened
  • ▢ 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ▢ 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ▢ Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ▢ 6 cloves garlic unpeeled
  • ▢ 1 lemon cut in half
  • ▢ 1 cup dry white wine


Show Nutrition

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Winner, winner… this spatchcock roast chicken recipe did produce an incredibly moist, juicy, and flavorful chicken! Obviously, the buttery-garlic-infused wine and lemon broth the chicken roasted in were big factors, as well as the flavor-packed herbs tucked under the skin. In this case, I used fresh chopped Italian parsley and lemon thyme, my all-time favorites with chicken. I drizzled the remaining lemon juice over the chicken and let it rest while I finished up my side dishes of a quick stuffing and steamed green beans. You will end up with a lot of wonderful tasting pan broth with this dish that you can drizzle over when serving, sop up with crusty bread, or save to add a great pop of flavor to another dish where chicken stock is used.

This was an incredibly easy recipe to follow and spatchcocking the chicken really does allow it to roast more quickly and evenly throughout. I’ll definitely be making this dish again.

I have all sorts of thumbs up for this spatchcock roast chicken. I did start with an amazing bird. A big bird. 3 kg of organic free-range bird. Let me tell you, the meat on this chicken was tender and flavorful but the spatchcock process required a bit of teamwork. These free-roaming gals are tough to crack.

Once butterflied, the process was seamless. There’s something so satisfying about massaging chicken skin with butter. I used my parsley and thyme butter mostly under the skin as my chicken was a bit bigger than the recommended size for this recipe. The outside of the skin was pretty much a vehicle for cleaning the butter off my hands.

The timings and temperature were fairly accurate. Both the breast and thigh meat were cooked to perfection and remained juicy. I had left my second half of the lemon in the roasting pan. It had already roasted for 30 minutes when I realized it was meant for drizzling fresh at the end. For comparison, I squeezed the juice of the roasted lemon on half the roasted chicken and fresh lemon on the second half. Both juices wakened up the chicken flavor but I actually preferred the cooked lemon juice flavor. It just lent a more rounded and interesting depth of flavor. As for the seasoning, I used a total of 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. From this I removed one teaspoon which I mixed with the butter and herbs for under the chicken skin. The remaining salt was mixed with 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper and sprinkled all over the chicken before roasting. No adjustments were required at the end.

The recipe didn’t mention a sauce. This chicken didn’t really need a sauce but I definitely had some really delicious stuff in the pan. I separated the fat from the pan juices, reduced the remaining elixir, and served this on the side. I also drizzled the sauce over my steamed and sautéed long beans with slices of elephant garlic. A fluffy potato mash with just chicken broth and thyme was another perfect addition to the meal. As I used Sauvignon Blanc as my wine in the sauce, we also accompanied this meal with a glass of this slightly acidic and crisp wine which brought out the herby flavors in this perfect roast chicken. Cheers!

This spatchcock roast chicken really might be the perfect roast chicken recipe. The prep was easy and the result was a flavorful moist chicken. I even removed the skin on my portion and the result was still a super juicy flavorful chicken.


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In the first paragraph the author states that the backbone and sternum are removed yet in the directions, removing the sternum isn’t mentioned.

I’ve never heard of removing the sternum. I also like to eat the cartilage. Grilled over charcoal with a savory tare, it is called nankotsu and is one of the many types of yakitori in traditional Japanese cuisine.

Thanks, Bkhuna. You’re correct. In this recipe, only the backbone is removed and the breastbone is simply cracked so the chicken can lie flat. Although it isn’t as common, some people do choose to remove the breastbone as well when spatchcocking. The advantage to this is that the chicken truly lies flat, however, the method generally works very well with the breastbone left in and it lets you enjoy the cartilage if you choose to.

Harissa chicken is a winner weeknight dinner!

This sheet pan dinner (or traybake as they call them in the UK), really is a winner winner chicken dinner. You put all the veggies and the chicken on the same tray, slather them with the harissa preserved lemon mixture and put it in the oven.

The only trick is to cut your veggies up to cook in the time it takes for the chicken to bake. Worst case, you check part way into the cooking time, and take the veggies out early if they cook up more quickly than the chicken (or vice versa). But below and in the recipe are some great tips for getting the timing just right.

But let’s talk about the harissa and preserved lemons. Because I insist you buy or make these two condiments if you haven’t already. They will transform your dinner game.

How to Make the Moroccan-style Roasted Chicken:

This roasted Harissa chicken recipe is so easy to prepare and to cook. It only requires 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours of marinating time in the fridge.

The first thing you need to do is to mix all the marinade sauce ingredients in a ziplock, then add chicken thighs. You'll then need to massage the chicken with the paste so the meat can absorb the sauce during marinating.

I roasted the chicken thighs in the oven at 425°F for about 20 minutes. Then I removed the chicken from the heat, added some chopped red onions and bell peppers before continuing to cook it in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the thermometer reads 165°F.

If you are not a big fan of chicken thighs, feel free to use boneless chicken breasts. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time to around 18-20 minutes at 450°F, or until the thermometer reads 165°F. Because the cooking time is shorter, you can add the veggies at the beginning.

Watch the video: Harissa Kuřecí plech na pečení. Jamie Oliver. #QuickandEasyFood (January 2023).