Spicy Algerian chicken thighs

Spicy Algerian chicken thighs

Dean Cambray

When I was living in London I had the pleasure of working with many Algerian chefs. They were all wonderful people, warm and friendly, and very passionate – whenever there was a scuffle in the kitchen, you could be sure one of the Algerian boys was in the middle of it. I loved their warmth and humour and really enjoyed learning about their country and their food. We had many a good Algerian-inspired ‘staff’ meal together, out in the back laneway, crouched between the garbage bins. This recipe was always a winner. Serve it with couscous or steamed rice, and perhaps a simple green salad.


Quantity Ingredient
2 red peppers
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 small red chillies, finely chopped
1 onion, sliced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, dry-roasted and ground
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, dry-roasted and ground
1 lemon, zested
2 lemons, juiced
1 cup coriander, roughly chopped, (stalks and leaves)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 x 250 chicken marylands, skin on
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups good-quality chicken stock or water
200g green olives, pitted and halved


  1. Halve the peppers lengthwise and rub them all over with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Grill, skin-side up, until black and charred. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and slice away the seeds and pith. Chop roughly and place in a blender with the chillies, onion, garlic, ginger, spices, zest and juice of 1 lemon and half the chopped coriander. Blitz on high to form a rough purée. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and blitz briefly to incorporate.
  2. Use a sharp knife to trim away any excess fat from the chicken thighs. Slice 3 deep grooves into the flesh through the skin. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-based casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the chicken marylands, skin-side down first, and sauté until brown all over. Pour on the purée then add the stock or water. Add the olives and stir everything together well. Cover the casserole and simmer very gently for 1–1½ hours, stirring frequently to ensure the sauce doesn’t catch and burn. At the end of the cooking time, the chicken will be very tender and falling away from the bones.
  4. When ready to serve, stir in the remaining lemon juice and chopped coriander. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
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