Fast Recipes

Harissa chicken with carrot, rice and quinoa pilaf

Chicken, boring? Things look up with the addition of harissa, the North African spice paste.

By Emma Knowles
  • Serves 4
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Harissa chicken with carrot, rice and quinoa pilaf recipe
Always have harissa on hand in your kitchen arsenal. The north African spice paste is an instant flavour booster - here, we've rubbed it over chicken thighs with lemon juice with spicy, juicy results.


  • 6 skinless chicken thigh fillets, halved
  • 2 tsp harissa, or to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 20 gm butter, diced
  • 1 Spanish onion, coarsely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp coarsely crushed coriander seeds
  • 2 carrots, coarsely grated
  • 200 gm basmati rice (1 cup)
  • 90 gm quinoa (½ cup)
  • 500 ml chicken stock (2 cups)
  • Pinch of saffron threads (optional)
  • Finely grated rind of ½ lemon, plus wedges to serve
  • Mint leaves, to serve


  • 1
    Combine chicken, harissa, lemon juice and 1 tbsp olive oil in a bowl, season, toss to combine and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
  • 2
    Heat butter and remaining oil in a wide casserole over medium-high heat, add chicken skin-side down and brown well (2-3 minutes). Transfer chicken to a plate. Add onion, garlic and coriander seeds to casserole and sauté until onion is just tender (2-3 minutes). Stir in carrot, then add rice and quinoa, and stir to coat in oil. Add stock, saffron, lemon rind and 185ml hot water, season to taste, then place chicken on top, browned side up. Cover with a close-fitting lid, reduce heat to very low and cook for 12 minutes.
  • 3
    Turn off heat and stand without uncovering for 5 minutes to steam, then scatter with mint and serve with lemon wedges.