BBQ Harissa Chicken Thighs with Lime and Garlic

July 22, 2016

Harissa chicken

In his final blog for Leicester Market, resident foodie Adam Garratt delivers his superb recipe for BBQ Harissa Chicken Thighs with Lime and Garlic – a full-flavoured dish perfect for the summer.

Everybody at Leicester Market would like to thank Adam for his contributions since coming on board as our website’s food blogger – and we wish him the best of luck in his future work.

Golly, have I missed the summer. Usually I’m a stickler for the warmer months. Sticky days, flies and being too hot to sleep are not amongst my favourite pastimes.

That being said, the winter really drew on, well into April, and I was getting a bit fed up of it. So summer is positively welcome at the moment.

Now with summer, comes BBQ! You know, that ancient cooking method bringing family, friends…and even enemies together, to stare at a burnt sausage whilst getting slowly inebriated. You have to love it. The cooking side of things needn’t be a nightmare though, it’s relatively simple once you get the hang of it, and once you do, there’s a myriad of things you can barbecue. It’s not all about burnt sausages and hockey puck burgers.

If you’ve never used Harissa before, now is the time to do so. Harissa is a hot, smoky paste from North Africa, and I can testify that it’s extremely addictive. It has that sort of moreish quality to it, and with it being so versatile. It’s definitely one of my store cupboard essentials. I’ve put it in mayonnaise to add to my burgers, I’ve used it in salad dressings, on top of steaks and in this case marinated succulent chicken thighs in it.

It is well worth getting a jar or making it yourself, it’s so handy to have around, and peps up even the most mundane of meals. You can prep this a day in advance if you wish; meaning all you need to do is sling them on the barbecue when ready. Also, this recipe can be scaled up to serve more people.

Ingredients (serves around 3)

•    5-6 chicken thighs
•    2 tsp Harissa paste
•    Juice of 1 lime
•    4 garlic cloves
•    3 tbsp olive oil
•    1 tsp pepper
•    ½ tsp salt
•    Garnish with red chillies and coriander (optional)


1.    Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl, then add the Harissa paste, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Take the garlic cloves and squash them with the back of the knife, remove the paper and place in the bowl along with everything else.

2.    I suggest using plastic or latex gloves for this next part, unless you want yellow fingers! Mix everything together with your hands, so that the chicken is thoroughly coated in the marinade. Cover with cling-film, put in the fridge and leave for at least 1 hour. Overnight is better though.

3.    Once the chicken has marinated, remove from the fridge and leave to come to room temperature before cooking. When ready, remove from the marinade, making sure no garlic cloves are left on, as these will burn and taste bitter. Place them on the BBQ away from the fierce heat, skin side down first, flipping halfway through cooking. They should take around 20-30 minutes to cook, depending how big they are, and how hot your coals are. You can test by poking a skewer in the thickest part of the meat, if the juices run clear, they are done, if pink, cooking them a little more. These would be great served with corn on the cob, and a cooling cucumber and yoghurt dip.