This fast and simple dish has a surprising complexity of flavors. It tastes like it spent all day slow roasting when in fact the active cooking time is close to thirty minutes. The secret ingredient that adds so much depth is harissa, a spicy paste made from chilis, spices, and olive oil. A little harissa adds a ton of flavor to any dish, but be cautious with store-bought brands as the heat level can vary widely.
The most labor-intensive step is browning the chicken thighs. Once the meat is browned it just takes a few minutes to sauté the vegetables and spices before placing it in the oven. I’ve been eyeing some beautiful romanesco at the store and decided to prepare it as a light vegetable side to this dish. I separated it into bite-sized pieces as I would with cauliflower or broccoli, and then placed it on a baking dish with salt, pepper, and grape seed oil. During the twenty minutes it took to brown the meat I roasted my little romanesco trees at 425 F. When it was time to prepare the chickpeas I removed the romanesco from the oven and set it aside. The chickpeas need about five minutes of preparation on the stove, and then the entire dish goes in the oven for 20-25 minutes. With only five minutes left of roasting, I grated a thin layer of Parmesan over the romanesco and popped it back into the oven to melt and brown.
Once plated, the entire dish is sprinkled with fresh, chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. This final step brightens the dish and creates a tart contrast to the richness of the harissa. This delicious meal is packed with protein, so it’s deeply satisfying. Enjoy this deceptively easy, wintery meal!
Bon Appétit recipe by Dawn Perry