This spicy baked chicken is a Middle Eastern inspired supper that is so easy to make. Everyone loves a tray bake – just get it all in the oven and let it cook. Serve this with crusty bread and a green salad. This quick traybake combines the aromatic flavours of harissa with the freshness of preserved lemons for a really moreish finish. This is the sort of speedy dinner that you can make almost entirely from store cupboard ingredients, so it’s great to have in your repertoire for when you need dinner in a hurry. You could of course use skinless, boneless chicken thighs if you prefer, but the bone and skin give the meat so much flavour – especially once the skin crisps up under its marinade.
- 5 preserved lemons
- 1tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
- 5tbsp olive oil
- 3tbsp harissa
- 1tbsp each ground coriander and cinnamon
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2tsp dried mint
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 8 large free-range chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
- To serve:
- 5tbsp chopped fresh coriander and mint
- 50g pistachio nuts, chopped
- wedges of lemon
Prepare the preserved lemons by cutting them in half and removing the flesh and pips. Then finely chop the rind. Crush the cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle. Mix together these ingredients with 4tbsp of the oil, harissa, the other spices, garlic, dried mint and the red onions. Add sea salt and plenty of black pepper, then add the chicken, coat it well, cover and leave overnight in the fridge.
Heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Oil a shallow roasting tin. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place into the tin, well spaced apart.
On top of each piece of chicken add the onion mixture (this will stop the onions burning in the oven). Spoon over any remaining marinade, season well, drizzle over the remaining oil and bake for 50mins – 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through. Scatter over the herbs and pistachios and serve with a squeeze of lemon.
Dried mint is used in a lot of Middle Eastern recipes. It has a much more intense flavour than fresh.