Harissa roasted chicken with potatoes, arugula, and garlic yogurt

When I first saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. The bold spices, chicken thighs, and the promise of a one pan meal were too much for me to resist. Unlike most recipes, which I bookmark under “Recipes to make!” and then leave to languish for weeks, months, or even years, this recipe inspired me (and my stomach) so much that I went out to the store that night to buy the ingredients.

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Chicken thighs are just about my favorite starting material for any meal. You could cook them (roast or pan fry!) for hours and they would still be juicy and moist; they’re often among the cheapest cuts of meat; and, most importantly, they marinate quickly enough that you can officially give up thinking ahead.

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Like all cuts of chicken, the final product is all about the marinade and/or cooking liquid. Though I cook chicken thighs on a nearly weekly basis, I really only have one marinade in my back pocket: the classic lemon, dijon, honey, and olive oil recipe. Now, though, I have two!

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This recipe uses harissa,  or any thick hot sauce, cumin, and oil as a marinade. To make this a full meal (all cooked in one pan, I might add), you add potatoes, leeks, some greens, and a fantastic yogurt sauce.

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 This recipe is easy and amenable to just about any changes that strike your fancy. I added 1lb of mushrooms because I had some in my fridge; I think carrots, bell peppers, or even broccoli could be added to this recipe with little modifications necessary. The chicken alone would also go well with other dishes; simply reduce the amount of marinade by half.

Harissa Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula, and Garlic Yogurt
Originally posted by NYT Cooking

1.5 lbs chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
1.25 lbs small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2.5 tsp kosher salt
.5 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp harissa, or other thick hot sauce
1 tsp ground cumin, divided
4.5 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise and  thinly sliced
1/2 tsp lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 small garlic cloves
.5 tsp paprika
2oz baby arugula

Combine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk together harissa, .5 tsp cumin, and 3 tbsp olive oil. Coat chicken and potatoes in marinade evenly, and leave to marinate. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours, or leave on the counter for 30 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine chopped leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt, and the remaining olive oil, along with extra vegetables if added. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Roast for 15 minutes with chicken skin side down, then flip chicken and toss potatoes. Scatter leek mixture over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through, likely 20-25 minutes. Check every 10 minutes to ensure your chicken end up golden and delicious, instead of overly browned like mine! Finally, grate garlic cloves into yogurt, and add .5 tsp of cumin and paprika. Whisk to mix. If using Greek yogurt, add up to 3 tbsp milk to give the mixture a sauce-like consistency. Serve with arugula on top and a large dollop of garlic yogurt. Enjoy!

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