Alex's book of recipes

Harissa, aubergine, and chicken stew

Spicy Moroccan-inspired stew with roasted aubergine, chicken thighs, and harissa.


4 chicken thighs

2 medium aubergine, cut into 1cm cubes

2 leeks, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

4 stalks celery, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 cans of chopped tomatoes (400ml each)

3 tbsp harissa powder (or 6 tbsp harissa paste)

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp ground cumin

½ tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp caster sugar

250g lentils

1.3L vegetable stock

1 preserved lemon, finely chopped

50g chopped parsley (plus extra, to garnish)

olive oil


ground black pepper

Greek yoghurt (optional)


First, we roast the aubergine. Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan). Toss the aubergine with plenty of olive oil and salt, and spread out evenly on a large baking sheet. Bake in the oven for approx 30m, or until lightly browned.

Now in a large heavy-based pot, heat up olive oil over medium-high heat until simmering. Pan-fry the chicken until browned, approx 5m on each side, then remove from the pot, set aside, and cover. Next, in the same pot, add a bit more olive oil, then the leeks, onion, and celery. Scrape the bottom of the pot to mix any burned bits into the vegetables.

Once the vegetables have softened, add garlic and cook for 1m (or until fragrant). Add the harissa powder, mix, and cook for 1m. Add the chopped tomatoes, lentils, the remaining spices, sugar, and some salt and ground black pepper. Cook for 2-3m, then add the lentils, and mix well. Add the vegetable stock, preserved lemon, and the roast aubergine, and bring the liquid to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20m. Next, add the partially cooked chicken thighs, and simmer for another 15m. Mix in the chopped parsley, and simmer for 5m.

Adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve with chopped parsley garnish and Greek yoghurt on the side.


Serve with Moroccan couscous.