Spatchcock Harissa Chicken with Fennel & Lemon
Warm and spicy flavours of harissa and lemon infuse the fennel and chicken in this Middle Eastern inspired skillet roast. I picked up this pre-seasoned cast-iron skillet online after seeing lots of one-pan recipes on other Instagram and Pinterest accounts. Cast iron pans weigh a ton but are great at holding and transferring heat making them worth the extra muscle power!
When you spatchcock (butterfly) a chicken, it allows the chicken breasts to sit lower in the skillet on the same level as the legs meaning the bird cooks more evenly, resulting in a tastier chicken. Any leftover meat can be shredded and used for a chicken soup - perfect for these colder nights, while the removed backbone & carcass can be used as a base for chicken stock.
1 free range, organic chicken
5 shallots, peeled
2 tbsp harissa paste
2 lemons, juice one and slice the other
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tbsp evoo
100ml white wine
Sprig fresh thyme
Handful flat leaved parsley
Using a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic, 1 tbsp evoo, lemon juice, harissa paste, salt, pepper and half of the thyme together till it forms a rough paste.
To spatchcock the chicken, turn it upside down and using a pair of sharp kitchen scissors carefully remove the backbone. (This can be used for making stock so don’t throw it away). Turn the chicken back over and push down on the breast bone to flatten the chicken.
Pat the chicken dry with some kitchen tower and season with salt. Rub the harissa marinade over the chicken and leave to marinate in the fridge for up to two hours.
Preheat oven to 190°C and heat the skillet.
Peel the shallots and chop the fennel bulb into thin slices. Don’t bin the fennel fronds, they make for a lovely garnish!
Remove the hot skillet from the oven and carefully add the chicken, whole shallots, fennel, lemon slices, a good glug of evoo, the remaining thyme, white wine and seasoning.
As a rough guideline, roast the chicken for 20 minutes per lb (450 g) plus 10-20 minutes extra at the end.
Garnish with fresh parsley/fennel fronds and serve with a fresh salad or couscous.