Roasted Harissa Chicken with Herbed Pistachio Goat Cheese
A zingy, flavor-packed goat cheese is slipped under the skin of this bird before harissa, a North African chile pepper paste, paints it a brilliant red and adds an extra kick of heat. Placed over a bed of fennel and carrots, the chicken keeps moist while the vegetables become infused with pan drippings during roasting. You’ll need to prep the chicken the day before you plan to serve this dish.
- 4 pound chicken
- Kosher salt to taste
Pistachio Goat Cheese
- 8 ounces fresh goat cheese room temperature
- 1/3 cup roasted and salted pistachios chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 large fennel bulb quartered lengthwise
- 1 pound small carrots scrubbed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 2-3 tablespoons harissa paste
- One day before you plan to cook chicken, remove giblets from chicken and pat outside and inside dry. Generously salt chicken inside and out. Place on a large plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
Pistachio Goat Cheese
- Mix goat cheese, pistachios, cilantro, and lemon zest in a small bowl until fully combined. (If made ahead of time, cover and refrigerate.)
- Remove chicken from refrigerator 1 hour before you plan to cook it. Pat chicken dry. Arrange rack in center of the oven and heat oven to 425°F.
- Toss fennel and carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and spread out in an even layer in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or roasting pan.
- With the breast side up, slide your hand between meat and skin of chicken and carefully stuff goat cheese mixture under skin. Depending on the size of your bird, all cheese mixture might not fit underskin; sprinkle any remainder over vegetables.
- Combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and harissa in a small bowl. Rub outside and inside of chicken with mixture. Tie legs together with butcher’s twine and set bird, breast side up, over bed of vegetables.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 375°F. Bake for another 40 to 50 minutes, basting chicken halfway through with pan drippings. Chicken is done when skin is browned and juices run clear when a cut is made between leg and thigh. If skin begins to brown too quickly, tent with foil and continue cooking.
- Transfer chicken to a cutting board and rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with vegetables.