Chicken with Prunes, Potatoes, Cauliflower and Harissa, by Diana Henry

"The flavours of a tajine without the fuss. This is quite sweet, because of the prunes, so it does need the preserved lemon to cut through that. If you don’t like prunes (I know they divide people), use dried apricots or pitted dates instead. "

From the Oven to the Table: simple dishes that look after themselves by Diana Henry is published by Mitchell Beazley (£26.00). Buy the book here.

Ingredients for Chicken with Prunes, Potatoes, Cauliflower and Harissa  Serves: 4

  • 2 ½ tablespoons harissa
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon soft light brown sugar
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g (14oz) small waxy potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 375g (13oz) cauliflower florets (about ½ large head)
  • about 12 moist prunes (more is fine)
  • 300ml ( ½ pint) chicken stock
  • 2 preserved lemons, plus 1 ½ tablespoons brine from the jar
  • 8 good-sized skin-on bone-in chicken thighs, excess skin neatly trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander leaves
  • Pistachio relish, to serve
  • Greek yoghurt, to serve 

Method for Chicken with Prunes, Potatoes, Cauliflower and Harissa 

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C fan (400F), Gas Mark 6.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the harissa, spices, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper and olive oil.
  3. Cut the potatoes – there’s no need to peel them – into 2mm ( 1/16 in) slices and put them into a shallow 30cm (12in) casserole with the onions.
  4. Add the cauliflower and prunes. Take one-third of the harissa mixture and toss it with this.
  5. Add the chicken stock and place over a medium heat until the mixture is simmering.
  6. Remove the flesh from the preserved lemons – keep the rind for scattering on top – chop it, then add it to the rest of the harissa mixture, along with the brine from the jar.
  7. Mix the chicken thighs with this mixture, rubbing it all over. Set the chicken on top of the simmering vegetables, skin side up.
  8. Season the chicken skin and put the dish into the oven.
  9. Cook for 45 minutes, taking the dish out and scooping the cooking juices up over the chicken a couple of times. You should end up with dark golden chicken and tender vegetables.
  10. Cut the preserved lemon rind into shreds and throw it over the dish along 

    with the coriander. This is good with a nut relish made with pistachios or walnuts, or a bowl of Greek yogurt – grate in some garlic or leave it as it is.

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