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Spatchcock harissa chicken with bulghur wheat salad and a tahini yoghurt dressing



(Serves 4-6)

For the harissa marinade

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 red chillies
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Pinch chilli flakes, optional
  • Olive oil, as needed

For the tahini dressing

For the bulghur wheat salad

  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g bulghur wheat
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 400ml water
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 40g toasted flaked almonds
  • A handful of parsley and coriander, roughly chopped

This recipe is perfect for a crowd, feeding up to 6 people and requiring very little attention once the chicken is on the barbecue. We always make our own harissa paste in The Cookery School, it is so much more vibrant and flavourful than shop bought. You will only need half of the harissa for the chicken in this recipe, leaving you plenty to keep in the fridge and use to cook with in the following days.

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Begin by preparing the harissa sauce. Preheat the oven to 180°C and spread the whole spices out on a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes until fragrant and just golden brown. Tip into a pestle and mortar, or spice grinder, and grind to a powder.

Roast the peppers, chillies and tomatoes on the barbecue, over a direct heat, until they are evenly charred all over and the skins have split. Place the peppers into a bowl. Cover with clingfilm and allow to cool.

Peel the peppers and tomatoes, discarding the skin and place in the bowl of a food processor with the chillies, paprika, garlic and a splash of olive oil. Pulse to a coarse paste (the sauce should be a rough texture, not smooth) and then add a couple of teaspoons of the dry ground spices. Mix well and taste, adding more of the spice mix if needed. Finish by seasoning with a little salt, the chilli flakes and red wine vinegar.

Rub half of the harissa sauce all over the spatchcock chicken and leave to marinate for at least an hour. Keep the rest in the fridge for up to 3 days.

To make the tahini dressing, simply mix all of the ingredients together well with a whisk to form a smooth sauce. Chill until needed.

For the bulghur wheat salad, fry the sliced spring onions in the olive oil for 3 minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the garlic and onion are soft. Add the allspice and cinnamon and stir over the heat for 1 minute. Stir in the bulghur wheat, toast gently for a couple of minutes and then add the bay leaf and water with a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 10-12 minutes until the bulghur wheat is tender. Drain off any excess water and once cool, stir in a drizzle of olive oil, the lemon juice, preserved lemon, flaked almonds, chopped herbs and a little salt and pepper.

To cook the chicken, place breast side up onto the grill of the barbecue, over indirect heat. Close the lid and cook for approximately one hour, until the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature on a cooking thermometer reaches 68°C.

Once cooked, turn the chicken over and place over direct heat for 5 minutes, or until the skin is well glazed and slightly charred.

Rest for at least 20 minutes before serving with the bulghur wheat salad and tahini dressing.


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