Recipe: Smoky Chermoula Chicken with Roasted Carrots, Cauliflower and Feta
Updated: Jan 15
Last month my husband attended a business dinner with colleagues, and because the out-of-towners didn’t want to take home a doggie bag, he was able to snag half of someone’s roasted chicken dinner for me from Harvest in Cambridge. Score!
The herbaceous and pungent chicken and garlicky side of romanesco, as it turns out, was delectable. I don’t mean delectable because it was “free” – which is totally a thing – but delectable ON ITS OWN. I had to know what this dish was.
A little menu digging introduced me to “chermoula” – a green Moroccan herb marinade made from parsley, cilantro, cumin, garlic, and other spices. It’s traditionally served with grilled fish, but I HAD to recreate this fantastic chicken or die trying. (Thankfully, it worked.) Here’s my spin on chermoula chicken with roasted veggies.
4 bone-in chicken thighs and 4 chicken drumsticks
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of parsley
6 garlic cloves
1/2 TSP salt
2 TSP ground cumin
1 TSP paprika
1 TSP toasted coriander seeds
1/4 TSP cayenne
Juice of 1 lemon
1/8 cup of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil, plus more to taste
1 bunch of rainbow carrots
1 head of cauliflower
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Olive oil, to taste
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup of feta cheese (I prefer goat feta)
The night before you cook, trim the chicken pieces of extraneous fat and skin. Place in a large mixing bowl.
Add the cilantro, parsley, garlic, salt, cumin, paprika, coriander seeds, cayenne, lemon juice, and vinegar to your food processor and pulse. While the ingredients are getting pulverized, start drizzling in the 1/4 cup of olive oil. When it's at a paste-like consistency, reserve about a quarter cup of marinade in a lidded container and pour the rest over the chicken, making sure all parts of the skin become saturated in the green sauce. Leave covered in the fridge overnight, alongside the reserved marinade.
The next day, heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. To prepare the vegetables, peel and trim the carrots as needed and slice lengths-wise. Drop them into a mixing bowl and add a little salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spread the seasoned carrots onto a roasting pan and place them in the oven until they're soft and a bit browned. Similarly, chop the cauliflower florets, add them to a mixing bowl, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Place the cauliflower on a different roasting pan, but don’t place the pan in the oven until the chicken goes in.
Heat a heavy bottomed, oven-safe pan on medium-high and add a small amount of olive oil. (You can keep multiple pans going at once or crisp the chicken in batches.) While the pan(s) are heating, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and dab away extra oil/moisture. (Don’t wipe off the marinade, just pat the chicken with a paper towel to make the pieces less wet.) When the oil is nice and hot, add in the thighs and drumsticks skin-side down and let them crisp until darkened - about 4-5 minutes each side. The herbs might smoke, giving the chicken extra flavor, but make sure they don't get too blackened! (This process can take a while, so be patient and just let the protein caramelize.)
When the chicken pieces are nice and browned, place them side by side in a roasting pan and baste with the reserved marinade. Place the chicken in the oven, along with the cauliflower.
In the meantime, continue checking the carrots. If they're soft and browned to your liking, remove them from the oven and keep them warm under a foil tent.
Check the chicken/cauliflower after 30 minutes. If the chicken is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest parts near the bone, they will be ready. Leave them to rest for roughly 15 minutes tented under a piece of aluminum foil. The cauliflower should also be crispy and browned at the edges – feel free to leave them in the oven longer while the chicken is resting.
Mix the carrots in with the cauliflower, then sprinkle with raisins and feta. Enjoy!
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