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Ainsley Harriott’s Harissa Lemon Chicken Skewers with Glazed Aubergines and Garlic-Mint Sauce

Spicy harissa paste and tangy preserved lemons combine to elevate these simple, Moroccan-inspired chicken skewers (as seen on ITV's Ainsley's Mediterranean Cookbook) into a mouthwatering meal.

From the book


While in Morocco, I just had to cook a dish using harissa –the delicious North-African spice paste made from chillies and fragrant spices.The vibrant tang of preserved lemons works beautifully in a spicy marinade and these chicken skewers and fire-glazed cumin and honey aubergines certainly went down a treat with the crew. This harissa marinade is also great with lamb or vegetables.

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For the Harissa Lemon Chicken Skewers:
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, grated
1 heaped tbsp Moroccan harissa paste
1 preserved lemon, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2.5-cm cubes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Glazed Aubergines:
4 baby aubergines, quartered
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp runny honey
A good pinch each of salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
For the Garlic-Mint Sauce:
6 tbsp Greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
juice of ½ lemon
sea salt, to taste
a sprinkle of sweet/hot smoked paprika, to serve
To serve:
pitta breads
a few mint sprigs
lemon wedges

Essential kit

You will need: four skewers

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Preheat a barbecue or a griddle pan over a medium–high heat. If not using the barbecue, additionally preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.

First, marinate the chicken for the skewers. In a large bowl, mix together the yoghurt, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic, harissa paste, preserved lemon, olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Toss the chicken cubes in the marinade until coated, then cover and leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes.

For the aubergines, place the aubergine wedges in a separate bowl, add the cumin and honey and mix together until coated. Season with a good pinch each of salt and pepper and drizzle with the oil and mix again.

Next, make the garlic mint sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except the salt until well combined. Season with salt to taste and set aside.

Thread the chicken onto four skewers and place onto the hot barbecue or griddle pan. Cook for 5–6 minutes, then turn and cook the other side for a further 4–6 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, place the aubergines onto the barbecue and cook for 8–10 minutes, turning regularly, until golden and soft. If not using a barbecue, pop the aubergines onto a baking tray and into the oven for 15–20 minutes.

Serve the chicken skewers and glazed aubergines with the garlic mint sauce on the side, sprinkled with a little smoked paprika, with pitta breads, a few sprigs of mint and some lemon wedges for squeezing over.

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From the book: Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook

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