Slow roast harrissa lamb and lime couscous

Now this is the perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday. To me there’s nothing better than a day of writing recipes, experimenting with food and eating. Can’t forget a cheeky glass of wine or two as well.

This one comes from my fave, Tom Kerridge and his ‘best ever dishes’ book. Don’t be put off by the ingredients list as this is one of those that requires minimal effort once the lamb goes in.

Start by making the harrissa. Of course, you could buy shop bought but this one is far tastier, fresher and if you make extra you can jar it up for other dishes.

Place as many dried chillis as you wish in a bowl and pour over just enough boiling water to cover. I used a super hot one that I bought from La Ramblas market in Barcelona, but any dried chillis would work. Next time I would use more, perhaps three or four to make it more punchy. Cover with cling film and leave to cool. Once cold, remove the stalk and pat the chillis dry. Don’t throw away that spicy water!

Pop the chillis in a food processor, along with 70ml of olive oil, six garlic cloves, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, two teaspoons of ground coriander, two teaspoons of ground cumin, two teaspoons of smoked paprika and a teaspoon of salt. Blitz to a purée and loosen with some reserved water if necessary. Pop the harissa paste in a jar and pour on a little olive oil to seal. I used nearly the whole lot for the lamb but next time I’d definitely make more and keep in the fridge.

Make cuts all over a 2kg bone in leg of lamb. Rub three or four tablespoons of the paste all over and massage it right into those cuts to penetrate the meat.

Place the joint on top of ten halved red onions in a roasting tin.

Wrap the tin in cling film and marinade in the fridge for as long as you can, up to 12 hours.

When you’re ready to cook your lamb, pre heat the oven to 140 degrees.

Pop the tin in the oven and roast for four to five hours, basting from time to time. The aim is meat that can be pulled away from the bone with a fork. I cooked this for over four hours but next time I’d actually cook it for longer to achieve more of a ‘pulled’ effect.

Whilst the lamb is cooking, get started on the couscous. Pour some olive oil in a saucepan and add a pinch of saffron if you have it. I used turmeric which does a similar thing. Let this steep on a low for five mins then crank the heat up slightly. Add a finely diced onion and two grated garlic cloves and let them soften for ten mins or so.

In a separate pan, bring 400ml of water to the boil. Crumble in a chicken stock cube and half a fresh lime. The recipe called for lime leaves which I did not have in, but it produces the same sort of flavour.

Add 400g of couscous to the onion and garlic mixture followed by the stock. Remove from the heat and pop the lid on to absorb. After about ten minutes it should be done so give it a fluffing up.

To finish the couscous, add a handful of chopped parsley, a handful of chopped coriander, a sprinkle of chopped mint, 100g of pitted black olives and another dollop of harrissa a paste. Add a final splash of olive oil, grate in some lemon zest and season.

Remove the joint from the tray and set aside to rest.

To make the onion sauce, place the roasting tin on the hob and bring to the boil. Add 300ml of chicken stock and stir to scrap all those Gnarly onions in. Once bubbling, reduce until you have a thick gravy. Add in a spoonful of harrissa and a handful of freshly chopped coriander for extra taste.

Serve the lamb in chunks alongside the herby couscous and drizzle over that amazingly rich sauce.



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