Sunday, April 10, 2011

Harissa Chicken Braised in Carrot Juice

I made this today. It was inspired by my cousin Liam, who gave me this jar.

Harissa is a Tunisian chili sauce that has more flavor than heat (but still a little heat).

I had never heard of it until I tried the Harissa Rabbit Lola in Seattle (the restaurant where Liam is an executive chef). He gave me the jar because I kept obsessing about how good it was. On his wedding night, his wife Audrey gave me a quick harissa tutorial (she's a chef too). So guys, here's what I came up with. I have to say, it impressed even me. I'm not bragging, I just surprised the hell out of myself when I tasted the final product. It has a sweet, spicy tang that reminded me of a mole or a really good bbq sauce (but not as sweet). This is beyond good.

Harissa Chicken Braised in Carrot Juice
4 organic free range chicken thighs
1/2 large yellow onion diced
1 C chicken broth
3 t Harissa (find a good one like Mustapha's)
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground cumin
1 1/2 C fresh carrot juice (if you have a juicer, hey, dust it off and get it working again)
1/4 C dried apricots diced
1/4 C golden raisins
1/2 C quartered crimini mushrooms (optional)
1/4-1/2 t kosher salt

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place them in a hot enameled cast iron dutch oven. Brown both sides. It takes about 4 minutes on each side. Let it get some good color.

Remove the chicken and add your onions to the chicken fat. Add a few tablespoons of chicken broth to release the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

When almost translucent and all the liquid has evaporated add the spices (cinnamon, cumin, ginger and harissa). Cook for just a little while until the pan is drier and the spices are toasted.

Add the carrot juice, the rest of the chicken broth and salt to taste (don't put in too much salt because you are going to reduce the sauce). Bring to a boil.

Add chicken back to the pot with apricots, raisins and mushrooms.

Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked completely (10-20 minutes). Remove everything but the liquid. I strained the veg and pieces out with a strainer.

Reduce sauce until it's thick and viscus (don't skip this part).

Once sauce is to your liking (coating the back of a fork) return chicken, veg and fruit to the sauce to coat.

Serve over cous cous.
Please understand, I am considering raiding The Husband's lunch for tomorrow so I can eat the last piece of this. Oh, he would be so mad...but I would be so happy.

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