Harissa is an Arabian spice mix that's frequently used in Moroccan/Tunisian/Middle Eastern cuisine. Roasted red peppers, coriander seed, chili peppers, and garlic make up the dominant flavours. It's spicy but tempered, and rich, robust, and totally addictive. I could eat this on its own, plain with some table crackers. We'd gotten a jar of this paste on one of our travels, and I thought I'd use it to punch up a stew for a quick Sunday night dinner. We'd also gotten a tub of bezar spice, a garam-masala-like spice, also a Emirati/Egyptian staple, which we used to marinade the chicken first.
Ingredients (feeds 3-4):
5-6 chicken thighs, marinated in bezar spice
1 yellow onion, diced finely
1 head small garlic, minced
1 yellow pepper, diced to 1cm-cubes
1 can diced tomatoes
10 green olives (I got the stuffed-with-lemon ones to lend a bright contrast)
10 dried apricots, halved
3-5 tbsp harissa paste (adjust according to heat tolerance)
5-6 cups chicken stock
1) Brown chicken in olive oil, salting liberally, taking care not to overcrowd the pan.
2) Set aside browned chicken in stewing pot.
3) Leaving behind 3 tbsp chicken fat, fry onions till transluscent.
4) Add garlic, and fry till fragrant.
5) Add tomatoes, tossing through.
6) Add harissa paste, stirring through.
7) Add chicken stock.
8) Transfer the whole jin-gang to the chicken in the stewing pot.
9) Add olives and apricots. Bring to a boil, and lower to a simmer for 40 minutes, or until fall-off-the-bone tender.
10) In the last 20 minutes before serving, add peppers.
11) Salt to taste before serving.