Chicken Harissa

Chicken Harissa

I visited Napa earlier this year on a girls trip. One morning we had breakfast at the Oxbow Market in downtown Napa. It is akin to a beautifully curated Farmer’s Market, but that description really does not do it justice. Here is a brief overview of the concept of the Market from their website:

The Market has a commitment to the unique character, spirit and content of the Public Market not only as a place to display and sell organic and/or sustainably-produced local crops, other regional specialties, and other high quality and unique food products, but also as a place that actively supports sustainable and organic farming practices, owner-operated businesses, local food producers and the agricultural community of the Napa Valley and surrounding regions.

Our goal is to create an atmosphere within the Oxbow Public Market to improve the local food culture through education, community outreach and support of local businesses and farms.

I love food related finds on trips that I can bring back with me that inspire new dishes. One of my favorite shops I visited at the Oxbow Market was Whole Spice, which is a local Napa business that sells freshly ground spices, herbs and blends. They have a great selection on their website so I highly recommend checking it out.

A very friendly sales associate convinced me to purchase one of their best sellers, the Harissa Spice Coarse, which also included a recipe. This spice blend is a classic Moroccan seasoning that is made up of Chili, cumin, garlic, seas salt, Chili cayenne, and citric acid. The recipe is a chicken dish with fresh vegetables. I have since made the recipe twice – it is delicious, very rich in flavor and my husband absolutely loves it! A bonus is that this is also a very healthy meal that stands on it’s own. I like to pair this dish with couscous and dinner is served.

Paying tribute to my Napa trip, I also paired this dinner with a bottle of Decoy since we visited the Duckhorn Vineyard on our trip. Also, fun fact – the cilantro I used was grown fresh from my uncle’s garden. Please note that I served this dish in a tagine for display only. It was cooked on the stovetop as directed below.

Chicken Harissa

May 15, 2017
: 4

A rich and flavorful Moroccan dish.


  • 3 Pounds Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, sliced
  • Half a Lemon, cut into slices
  • 5-6 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons Harissa Spice Coarse
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 Roma Tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Cilantro
  • Step 1 Season chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Step 2 Heat olive oil then add green bell pepper and bay leaf. Sauté on medium high heat until the pepper is slightly brown.
  • Step 3 Add chicken and sauté for about 5 minutes on each side.
  • Step 4 Add minced garlic and lemon slices – sauté for 30 seconds and watch closely to make sure not to burn the garlic.
  • Step 5 Add the Harissa Spice, salt and pepper and sauté for another minute – making sure the chicken is well coated in spices.
  • Step 6 Add tomatoes and cook uncovered on a medium-high heat for around 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning.
  • Step 7 Add chopped cilantro and cover the pan. Cook for one hour.
  • Step 8 Optional: To thicken the sauce, uncover the pan then stir and scrape the bottom, and cook uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over at 15 minutes.

2 thoughts on “Chicken Harissa”

  • Made this last night and it was fabulous. It was such a treat every time one of the lemon rinds was in a bite. Such a flavorful surprise! I did not order the Harissa Spice because I was too impatient but almost gave up trying to find it in the grocery stores. Surprisingly, at Kroger I found Private Selection “Moroccan Inspired Harissa Chili Culinary Spice Paste” which was closest re: the list of ingredients. I do intend to order the real deal from the website but I was too impatient to try this dish to wait for the order. Also, my across the street neighbor brought me the most beautiful tomatoes from her brother’s garden so I used those instead of Roma because what could be better than homegrown tomatoes? It was fabulous. I will make it again without all of those substitutions but I just could not wait. This dish is a major 10!!!!!

    • My neighbor brought me this dish last night. Could not eat it all, so guess what, I had it for breakfast. Great dish with wonderful flavors that had me guessing the ingredients with every bite. Thanks for a great new recipe.

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