Harissa & red pepper chicken with aubergines, tomatoes, yoghurt & couscous recipe image

Print Harissa & red pepper chicken with aubergines, tomatoes, yoghurt & couscous

This is a fragrant Moorish dish. The aubergine and pepper should become a dark, tangled mess, lifted at the end by the sour yogurt. Harissa is a North African chilli paste and delivers heat to the dish in a subtle, spiced way. Feel free to hold back on the quantity if you don’t like your food too hot; you can always add more at the end if you want to adjust it.

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large aubergine
  • ½ veg stock cube
  • 150g wholemeal couscous
  • 300g diced chicken breast
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp harissa
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 30g parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Peel the red onion and slice it finely. Deseed the red pepper and chop it into thin slices. Warm 1 tablespoon of oil in the saucepan and fry the onion and pepper over a medium heat for 15 minutes, until softened.
  2. While the pepper and onion cook, remove the green top from the aubergine and cut widthways into half cm thick discs. Sprinkle the discs with a little salt and leave to sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, put a kettle on to boil.
  3. Crumble half the stock cube into a measuring jug and add 200ml of water. Mix until the stock cube has dissolved. In the large bowl, mix the couscous with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Pour over just enough stock to cover the couscous.
  4. Cover the bowl tightly with clingfilm and put to one side. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the frying pan, lay in as many aubergine slices as you can and fry until coloured on both sides. Put to one side and repeat in batches until they are all cooked.
  5. Aubergines like to soak up olive oil, so you’ll need to add a little more to the pan as you go to keep them frying. While the aubergines are frying, use some time to peel and finely slice the 2 garlic cloves and roughly chop the tomatoes.
  6. Add them to the pan of peppers along with the cinnamon, sugar, half the harissa and 100ml of water. Add the aubergines to the pepper mix when they are done and keep on a gentle simmer. Leave the frying pan on the heat.
  7. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and fry until browned on all sides. Add the chicken to the saucepan of veg and cook gently for another 5-8 minutes to cook it through. You should have a soft, tangled mess of aubergine, peppers and chicken.
  8. Adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper and harissa if required. Stir in 2 tablespoons of yoghurt to finish. Wash the parsley, shake dry, remove the leaves and chop them roughly. Zest the lemon. Add half the parsley to the couscous and fluff it all together with a fork.
  9. Divide the couscous between 2 bowls and spoon the unctuous chicken mix on the top. Garnish with the remaining parsley and some lemon zest.

Cooks notes

Frying the aubergines first not only adds to the flavour but also prevents the kind of spongy undercooked texture that haunt many people’s memories.
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