Chermoula chicken

Chermoula chicken

By
From
The Sunday Night Book
Serves
3
Photographer
Patricia Niven

Chermoula is a punchy North African spice paste that makes a great marinade for chicken, fish or vegetables. The chermoula itself can be made in advance, as it keeps well in the fridge for several days, then all you need to do for this super-simple one-pot meal is bung the chicken and vegetables in the oven and relax. Any leftovers will last for a couple of days in the fridge, and would make a great packed lunch shredded in a flatbread with some salad.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
10 chicken thighs, skin on
12 new potatoes, cut in half lengthways
2 red onions, cut in half and then into wedges
12 small tomatoes, cut in half, I like the little plum ones
sea salt

For the chermoula

Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 lemon
decent handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
decent handful coriander, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 red chilli, chopped, scrape out some of the seeds for less heat
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
6 tablespoons light olive oil

Method

  1. For the chermoula, toast the cumin seeds for 1–2 minutes until aromatic, then leave to cool. Juice the lemon and finely chop the lemon husk you’re left with. Run a knife through the cumin seeds a few times, just to break them up a bit and release their flavour. Put the parsley, coriander, garlic, chilli, smoked paprika, cumin and lemon juice into a food processor or large pestle and mortar. Add a teaspoon of the chopped lemon (reserve the rest for later) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, then blitz or grind to a smooth, loose paste, slowly adding the olive oil to help the process.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Put the chicken thighs into a large roasting tin or baking dish and nestle the potatoes and onion wedges in between. Sprinkle with salt and scatter over the reserved chopped lemon. Add the chermoula and use your hands to rub it into the chicken and toss everything together. Make sure the chicken thighs are skin side up, then carefully pour in a cupful of water, trying not to wash the chermoula off the chicken and vegetables. Roast for about 30 minutes, then give everything a good stir and pour in a little more water if it seems too dry. Add the tomatoes and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
  3. After 50 minutes the chicken should be juicy with crisp, golden brown skin, and the potatoes cooked through. Everything else should have formed an unctuous sauce. If there doesn’t seem to be enough sauce, transfer the chicken and vegetables to a warm serving dish, add some boiling water to the tin and scrape the bits from the bottom and sides – I find a whisk does this beautifully. Put the tin over a medium heat (or pour the sauce into a small pan if using a baking dish) and simmer the sauce for a minute or two, then pour over the chicken and serve straight away.
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