Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Leeks

This sheet pan dinner you are definitely gonna want to make! It is filled with so much flavor – Harissa-laced roasted chicken; crunchy sweet potatoes; browned leeks & onions; topped with a creamy tangy Feta Sauce and strewn with lots of fresh vibrant herbs.

Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken

Harissa is a fiery-hot North African hot paste, that enlivens everything that it touches. It’s available in most grocery stores but the level of heat may vary so if you’re afraid of it being to hot use 1½ tablespoons. I use the Trader Joe’s brand and to my South African followers Harissa is available at Woolworths. If you can’t find Harissa you can use another thick hot sauce, such as Sriracha but it’s a different flavor. The recipe calls for one to two tablespoons of Harissa and I use 2 tablespoons, because the chicken juices along with the vegetables mellows it just enough, allowing the chicken to “beam” rather than an overly spicy burn. The Feta Sauce adds creamy tartness as well as a pop of freshness. The Feta Sauce recipe is from my dear friend and fellow South African, Dale from the Daley Plate.

Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken

This is the perfect weeknight supper because you can prep everything, the night before and when you get home from work, pop it in the oven. A sheet pan takes the concept of a one-pot meal and flips it onto a pan. It saves time, makes clean-up easier, and doesn’t require expensive or fancy ingredients. The recipe calls for chicken thighs and legs but I used a whole chicken because that’s what I had on hand. If you do the same make sure to cut the breast in half so that get more of the marinade. Feel free to double the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd, though make sure to use two sheet pans so that everything is spread out in one layer, which is critical for browning.

Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken (FYI: I was not meant to add the leeks & onions)

Harissa Chicken

  • 1 ½ pounds (680g) chicken thighs and legs
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (orange flesh), cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt or flaky sea salt, more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons Harissa
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • leeks, white and light green parts only, cut in ¼ inch rings and rinsed well
  • ½ sweet onion, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (from 1/2 lemon) + 1 lemon, sliced
  • ½ – 1 cup fresh mixed herbs, such as parsley, mint, dill & or cilantro, roughly chopped
  1. Combine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together Harissa, honey, cumin and 3 tablespoons oil. Pour over chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Be sure to use your hands to rub the sauce into the chicken skin. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together the leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1½  tablespoons olive oil.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425℉ (220℃). Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.
  4. Arrange chicken (skin side up) and potatoes, and any sauce on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and toss the sweet potatoes lightly (to brown and crisp evenly). Scatter the leeks and onion over everything on the sheet pan. Roast until chicken and sweet potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 25 to 30 minutes longer.

Feta Sauce

  • 8 oz. (228g) creamy French Feta like Valbreso
  • 1 cup Greek, plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste (or 2-3 cloves made into a paste with the flat side of your knife)
  • 2 lemons, zest (about 1 tablespoon) and juice (1 tablespoon)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  1. Meanwhile, while the chicken cooks prepare the feta sauce. Add everything to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste and add additional lemon juice if needed.

To serve: Spoon ½ the feta sauce over the chicken and the vegetables in the pan and scatter the herbs over the mixture. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

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