I sometimes feel like a contestant on Chopped when I receive my weekly delivery from Imperfect Foods or I purchase seasonal vegetables available at the market. The chorizo was the focal point for this recipe. My thoughts and my palate immediately wandered to the western Mediterranean, especially Spain and the coast of north Africa. If you take a look at my recipe for seafood paella, it includes chorizo along with shrimp, fish, mussels and assorted seafood. Chorizo is a seasoned pork sausage that has been cured and smoked. There are some types that you can eat as is and others that will require cooking. Either one will work for this recipe.
When I think of the coast of north Africa, I think of spicy complex foods and especially of harissa. I use harissa in my couscous recipe. Harissa is a hot red chili paste or sauce used frequently in Tunisian cooking to flavor rice or other grains, meats and stews and soup. If you can’t find it at the grocery store, you can make your own!
I used the harissa in this recipe as a marinade to flavor the chicken thighs. The boneless skinless chicken thighs are lightly sautéed and then cooked later in a flavorful broth with onions and yellow bell peppers, a pinch of saffron, cumin and smoked paprika. You may choose to add some golden raisins to the broth and chicken mixture to remove some of the heat and add a little sweetness. I decided to use olives, looking for something a little saltier and more earthy to bring to the recipe. This Moroccan style chicken has a thin broth that pairs well with couscous or a small pasta such as orzo or acini de pepe. Serve it in a bowl so all of the juices and seasonings can mingle together with the chicken and the grains and the chickpeas. If it’s not too spicy for you, you can pass around a bowl of harissa for additional heat.