I’ve discovered a new love: harissa! I kept seeing it mentioned but didn’t even know what to look for, then I stumbled across a jar of it at one of our local Middle Eastern markets. It’s a Middle Eastern chili paste and I suspect the spice levels can vary a bit. Then I bought Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark and one of the recipes that caught my eye was this Harissa Chicken with Leeks and Potatoes. Oh my gosh! This was soooo good! It’s got a good kick to it but it’s not overpoweringly spicy. The harissa gets rubbed on the chicken and potatoes, then put on a sheet pan along and baked, with leeks being added halfway through. A little garlic yogurt is spooned on top along with some fresh herbs after the chicken and vegetables are cooked through. I used cilantro but you could also use mint, parsley or dill or a combination of several for different flavors.
I shared the leftovers with my boyfriend, who also thought it was fantastic. He didn’t use the yogurt sauce but I liked the coolness of the yogurt with the heat from the harissa.
This cookbook is a great one so far. Each recipe is supposed to be a full dinner, with maybe a salad or bread or a simple vegetable side. The recipes are organized by main ingredient, including chicken, beef, pork and lamb, fish and seafood, beans, tofu, pasta dishes and grain bowls ,soups, pizzas and main dish salads. So far I’ve made quite a variety of dishes, including fried eggs with tamarind sauce, lemony pasta with chickpeas, a pork and black bean chili and several chicken dishes.
Some of the dishes have one unusual ingredient, like the harissa or the preserved lemons in one of the pasta dishes I made. Others just use familiar things in new ways (smashed white beans with roast asparagus on toast).
I have a few quibbles with it. The portion sizes seem to vary a bit and sometimes the picture includes ingredients not listed in the recipe. But the recipes are good! And that counts for more than anything in my book. I’ve taken some pretty pictures of food that tasted bleh. So if you’re looking for mostly simple recipes that use ingredients in new ways sometimes, recipes that will help you get good food on the table relatively quickly and easily, check it out.2