Chermoula chicken thighs baked to perfection, topped with zaatar and a zingy herby crust featuring preserved lemon, coriander & parsley.
The fresh chermoula sauce takes around 10 minutes to prepare, then all you have to do is brown the meat, coat it in the sauce and wait for them to bake.
Herb Crusted Baked Chicken Thighs
Chermoula is a dip and marinade popular across much of North Africa. It is a dish that has many faces and in some ways, it is similar to pesto.
At its heart, it is a paste made from fresh herbs, usually coriander parsley, and olive oil. Then things amble off in all sorts of directions.
You get green zingy chermoulah with the addition of preserved lemons, which is the one I make to top these baked chicken thighs.
All the way on the other end of the spectrum you have red chermoula loaded with paprika. Other variants include ones made with harissa paste and even ones made with raisins.
The paste itself takes mere minutes to make! Then it is just a case of searing the thighs, sprinkling some zaatar and spreading the chermoula before baking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use store-bought chermoula?
Yes, although homemade will likely taste a lot better. But if you want a quick dinner and want to try it out, then give it a whirl.
Can I use chicken breasts?
Yes, but you will need to adjust the cooking time, I would take a temperature reading at around 20-25 minutes. You are looking for 73-74°C or 165°F.
What is zaatar?
Zaatar is a Middle Eastern/North African spice blend and just like chermoula, it varies a lot. Typically common ingredients include thyme, savory and oregano along with sumac and sesame seeds.
You can make homemade zaatar, and sprinkle it on everything from bread to soups. I also make a paste of it for my zaatar chicken legs and it features in many other recipes here.
Can I use regular lemons rather than preserved lemons?
You can, but not in the same way! Preserved lemons lose much of their really punch bitterness but retain the bright zingy flavour.
You can use all of the preserved lemons including the skin. If you wanted to use fresh lemons, use just the lemon zest and juice and add little by little to your taste.
These baked chermoula chicken thighs are pictured here with my roasted vegetable couscous. The veggies just so happen to roast for the same amount of time as the chicken, so I just nestle the chicken in with the veg and let it rip.
The bright and zingy flavours would also be fantastic with some braised cavolo nero.
If you wanted to go a little lighter then you can do no better than serving these chicken thighs with a good side salad.
A fresh chermoula sauce made from coriander, parsley, garlic and preserved lemon makes a perfect crust for baked chicken thighs.
- 4 Chicken Thighs
- 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- ½ Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
- 1 Tsp Zaatar
- 25g (⅔ Packed Cup) Coriander
- 15g (⅓ Packed Cup) Parsley
- 1-2 Garlic Cloves
- ¼ Tsp Cumin
- ¼ Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
- 50g (1-2 Small Preserved Lemons) Preserved Lemon
- 50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Olive Oil
- Cut the preserved lemons in half and pop out any seeds then pop them in a blender. There may not be any but they are best removed.
- Add the coriander, parsley, peeled garlic cloves, half of the salt, cumin, and chilli flakes to the blender, then pour over the olive oil.
- Blend to a coarse and thick paste adding more olive oil if required.
- Heat a frying pan that can be transferred to the oven over a high heat and when it is hot add the cooking oil.
- Season the chicken thighs with the remaining salt, then brown them skin side down in the oil.
- When the skin is a nice golden colour flip over the chicken and then sprinkle over the zaatar.
- Spoon the chermoula sauce over the chicken thighs to create a coating 3-5mm thick over the skin.
- Place in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 73°C or 165°F.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 873Total Fat: 67gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 51gCholesterol: 333mgSodium: 1412mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 65g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.