Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Time to Spice Things Up! Harissa Roasted Leg of Lamb with Pumpkin Couscous

I'm hunting for warming recipes this Autumn and spotted a great dish that uses a Harissa marinade for Lamb. Harissa is a fragrant fiery chilli sauce that is used in the Arab cuisine of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Libya. It's an orangey red colour and is made from made with red chilli peppers, garlic, mint, caraway, coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper mixed with oil. The word 'Harissa' comes from the arabic 'Harasa' which means 'to pound' (as in pounding the paste in a pestle and mortar!). Harissa is used in North Africa as a condiment – a little like Mustard or Ketchup - but it is also used as the flavour base for soups, stews, curries, couscous and pastas as well as a salad dressing, dipping sauce and marinade for fish and meat. Apparently once tasted it's very moreish so I can't wait to try this recipe.

If you love spicing things up and enjoy chilli Dartmoor Chilli Farm sell a wide range of sauces, oils and vinegars and seasonings (including Harissa Seasoning) – as well as chilli chocolate, fudge and cheese! They also sell chilli plants and seeds They are a green company, farming naturally and holistically without the use of herbicides or pesticides and are also off grid, creating their own electricity (winning the Best Green Business at the South Devon Excellence Awards in 2010).

Harissa Roasted Leg of Lamb with Pumpkin Couscous

1 leg of lamb
4 tbsp Harissa paste
olive oil

Score the leg of lamb with a sharp knife and coat with the Harissa paste. Wrap the leg of lamb in foil or cling film Cover with olive oil and salt. Roast in a preheated oven for 25 mins at 180ºC and then cook for a further 25 mins per each kg of meat. Serve with Pumpkin Couscous.

For the Pumpkin Couscous

½ pumpkin (around 500g), peeled and cubed
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
200g couscous
250ml boiling water
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
handful of raisins
handful of walnut halves
handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof dish on the hob. Add the crushed garlic, onion, raisins and pumpkin and fry until they are slightly browned. Add the spices and walnut halves and cook for a further 2 mins, stirring frequently. Remove from hob.

Preheat the oven to 220°C and roast uncovered for about 15 mins until the pumpkin is tender.

Add the couscous and butter to a heatproof bowl; pour in the 250ml of boiling water. Cover and stand until the water is absorbed, fluffing with fork occasionally to separate the grains (usually takes about 5 mins). Add the pumpkin mixture to the couscous and stir in the parsley.

Wine Pairing

White wines, especially Sparkling Wines , pair well with spicy food but a Bordeaux Rosé such as Chateau Ballan Larquette Rosé or Chateau Lamothe Vincent Rosé would be great with the succulent roast lamb. Both are smooth, well rounded and have depth of body. Both have a little note of citrus and good acidity which will counter the richness of the dish.