Harissa, a staple in North African cuisine, is a fiery, yet delicious chile sauce popular throughout Morocco, Algeria & Tunisia. It can be served as a condiment or a dip for a warm crusty bread. Harissa can made from fresh or dried chiles and spices. In this case it is a dry mix infused into a mixture of garlic, olive oil, and yogurt. Harissa is perfect for Tagines & Couscous to give the dish it’s prominent pungent chile taste.
For the Chicken:
1 (4 to 5 – pound) Chicken
With the chicken breast side down on a cutting board, using a chef’s knife or a pair of kitchen shears, cut the chicken alongside the backbone from the neck to the tail. Repeat on the other side of the backbone and completely remove the backbone from the carcass.
Turn the chicken breast side up on the cutting board and with the heel of your hand press down in the center of the bird to crack the sternum. Press down hard enough to flatten the chicken into two equal attached halves. Place in a shallow non-reactive dish for marinating.
Harissa Chicken Grilled over Hardwood
For the Seasoning/Marinade:
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons of Harissa, either from fresh chiles or a prepared powder, such as, the one from See, Smell, Taste spice company. www.seesmelltaste.com
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 Cup of plain yogurt
Salt to taste
In a mixing bowl combine the garlic, Harissa, olive oil, and yogurt together. Liberally rub the mixture over both sides of the chicken, as well as, under the skin. Cover and refrigerate over night.
Preheat a Big Green Egg, Weber Kettle, or other charcoal grill over medium heat to 325 degrees, building the fire on one side of the grill. Place the cooking grids on the grill to preheat.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing some of the excess to drain off, and season both sides with salt. Place the chicken skin side down on the opposite side of the hottest coals. A good trick is to have the drumsticks the closest to the direct heat, as they will take a little longer to cook. Cook with the skin side down until the skin becomes crispy and browned, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Turn the chicken over to finish cooking another 20 to 30 minutes. The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove the chicken to a warm platter and cover with aluminum foil. Allow the chicken to rest 5 to 10 minutes before carving to allow all of the juices to be reabsorbed.
Carve the chicken into serving pieces and drizzle with a little olive oil and enjoy.
The Hearth and Grill Shop is your Super store for Charcoal Grills and both Natural Gas and Propane Gas Grills. Come by this Saturday to see The Best Chicken recipe in action as we cook on a Big Green Egg.