Winter Citrus and Harissa Chicken: A Delightful Fusion

Winter is here, and with it comes the delightful aroma of winter citrus. I can’t help but think of the vibrant colors of Navel Oranges, ...

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Calvin Lamb

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Winter is here, and with it comes the delightful aroma of winter citrus. I can’t help but think of the vibrant colors of Navel Oranges, Seville Orange, and the tangy taste of lemon. But what excites me the most is combining these with the spicy kick of harissa to create the ultimate dish: winter citrus and harissa chicken.

When I first came across the term “winter citrus and harissa chicken,” it was in a New York Times article by Yewande Komolafe. The fusion of winter citrus with the spicy harissa, a staple in Harissa City, intrigued me. It’s not your typical “summer winter chicken” or the Korean “nurungji chicken.” This dish stands out, and here’s why.

Occasions to Serve Winter Citrus and Harissa Chicken

Imagine waking up to a chilly winter morning. The thought of breakfasts with the usual toast and eggs seems mundane. But what if you could have a dish that warms you up and excites your taste buds? Enter winter citrus and harissa chicken. Perfect for breakfasts, this dish can also be a star at dinner parties or a comforting meal on a cold evening.

Cooking Equipment Recommendations

Before diving into the recipe, let’s talk about the equipment. A gas grill is my top recommendation. Why? Because it gives the chicken a smoky flavor that complements the tangy citrus and spicy harissa. Melissa Clark, a renowned chef, once mentioned the beauty of using a gas grill for such dishes. However, if you don’t have a gas grill, pan-searing the chicken works wonders too.

Using the gas grill effectively is crucial. Ensure it’s preheated well, and always monitor the temperature. Too high, and you might burn the chicken; too low, and it won’t cook evenly.

The Recipe

Alright, here we are. Let’s dive into the recipe. But remember, once we’re done with the ingredients and basic steps, remind me to continue.

Yield: 4

Winter Citrus and Harissa Chicken

winter citrus and harissa chicken

"Winter Citrus and Harissa Chicken" is a culinary masterpiece that never fails to amaze me. The vibrant medley of winter citrus, from the zesty Navel Oranges to the smoky Seville Orange and lemon, combined with the fiery embrace of harissa, creates a flavor symphony that warms my heart during the chilly season. It's not just a dish; it's an expression of the beauty of winter ingredients. Each bite tells a story of comfort, spice, and the joy of savoring the season's finest.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marination Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • Chicken pieces: 4 (legs or breasts based on preference)
  • Harissa paste: 3 tablespoons
  • Navel Oranges: 2 (juiced)
  • Seville Orange: 1 (sliced)
  • Lemon: 1 (sliced)
  • Turmeric: 1 teaspoon
  • Marmalade: 2 tablespoons
  • Caramelized Dates: 4-5 (chopped)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Olive oil: 2 tablespoons


Preparation of Marinade:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the harissa paste, freshly squeezed juice from the Navel Oranges, turmeric, marmalade, and olive oil. Whisk these ingredients together until they form a smooth, well-blended marinade.

Marinating the Chicken:

  • Rinse the chicken pieces under cold water and pat them dry using paper towels. This ensures that the marinade adheres better to the chicken.
  • Place the chicken pieces in the bowl with the marinade, ensuring each piece is well-coated.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and let the chicken marinate for at least 10 minutes. For best results, consider marinating overnight in the refrigerator. If you choose to marinate overnight, ensure you bring the chicken to room temperature before grilling.

Preheating the Gas Grill:

  • Open the lid of the gas grill and turn on the heat to medium-high. Allow it to preheat for about 10-15 minutes. A properly preheated grill ensures even cooking and those perfect grill marks on the chicken.

Grilling the Chicken:

  • Once the grill is preheated, place the marinated chicken pieces on the grill grates. Ensure there's enough space between each piece to allow for even cooking.
  • Grill the chicken for about 12 minutes on one side. Using tongs, flip each piece and grill for another 12 minutes on the other side. The chicken should have a nice char on the outside and be fully cooked inside.

Grilling the Citrus Slices:

  • While the chicken is grilling, take the Seville Orange and lemon slices.
  • In the last 5 minutes of the chicken's grilling time, place these citrus slices on the grill. Grill them until they have slight char marks and have softened a bit, which should take about 2-3 minutes per side.


  • Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the grill and place it on a serving platter.
  • Garnish the chicken with the grilled Seville Orange and lemon slices.
  • Sprinkle the chopped caramelized dates on top for an added layer of sweetness and texture.
  • Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and flavorful bite.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 15gCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 25g

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Serving Suggestions and Suitable Side Dishes

The beauty of winter citrus and harissa chicken lies in its versatility. While it’s a dish that can stand alone, pairing it with the right side dishes can elevate the entire meal.

  1. Citrus Salad: A refreshing salad made with a mix of winter citrus like Navel Oranges, Seville Orange, and lemon, sprinkled with some salt and pepper. Top it off with some fresh mint leaves. This salad complements the spicy kick of the harissa chicken.
  2. Pan-Seared Vegetables: Think of bell peppers, zucchinis, and asparagus pan-seared in a touch of olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. The crunchiness of the veggies contrasts beautifully with the tender chicken.
  3. Caramelized Dates Rice: A hint of sweetness from the dates combined with fluffy rice makes for a delightful side. Inspired by Nigel Slater’s recipes, this rice dish is a must-try.
  4. Homemade Bread: A crusty homemade bread can be used to mop up the delicious juices of the chicken. Laraaji, a famous chef, once mentioned the joy of combining bread with spicy dishes.

Cooking Tips and Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Marination Time: While 10 minutes is the minimum, marinating the chicken overnight in the refrigerator can intensify the flavors.
  2. Gas Grill Monitoring: Always keep an eye on the chicken while grilling. The sugars from the marmalade can cause it to char quickly.
  3. Harissa Quantity: Adjust the amount of harissa based on your spice tolerance. Remember, it’s easier to add more later than to deal with an overly spicy dish.
  4. Avoid Overcrowding the Grill: Give each chicken piece its space. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking.
  5. Use Fresh Citrus: Winter citrus is the star of this dish. Using fresh citrus instead of bottled juices can make a world of difference.


Winter citrus and harissa chicken is more than just a dish; it’s an experience. The fusion of tangy citrus with spicy harissa creates a symphony of flavors that dance on the palate. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or just looking for a dish to warm up a cold winter evening, this recipe is a winner. As you savor each bite, think of the vibrant Harissa City, the refreshing winter citrus, and the joy of cooking. After all, as Dessert maestro Melissa Clark once said, “Cooking is all about creating memories, one dish at a time.” So, the next time winter comes knocking, you know what dish to whip up!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does harissa pair well with?

Harissa pairs wonderfully with grilled meats, roasted vegetables, couscous, and even as a condiment for sandwiches and burgers.

What wine goes with harissa chicken?

A light to medium-bodied white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a fruity red like Grenache complements the spicy and tangy flavors of harissa chicken.

What flavors go with harissa?

Harissa pairs harmoniously with flavors like garlic, cumin, coriander, lemon, and olive oil, enhancing its spicy and smoky profile.

What kind of flavor is harissa?

Harissa is a spicy and aromatic chili paste that offers a smoky, earthy, and slightly tangy flavor profile with varying levels of heat.

Can I use boneless chicken for this recipe?

Yes, you can use boneless chicken for a quicker cooking time. Adjust grilling time accordingly to ensure it’s fully cooked.

Is there a substitute for marmalade in this recipe?

If you don’t have marmalade, you can use honey or apricot preserves for a similar sweet-tangy element in the marinade. Adjust the quantity to taste.

How do I store leftovers of this dish?

Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave for a quick and delicious meal.

What other citrus fruits can I use in this recipe?

While Navel Oranges, Seville Orange, and lemon are recommended, you can experiment with grapefruit, blood oranges, or lime for unique citrus variations.

Is harissa very spicy?

The spiciness of harissa can vary by brand and personal preference. Start with a small amount and adjust to your desired heat level.

Can I make this dish vegetarian?

Absolutely! Substitute chicken with tofu or cauliflower for a tasty vegetarian version of this dish. Adjust grilling time accordingly.

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