Gourmet Traveller’s harissa roast lamb recipe

Turn up the heat on your next roast lamb with this fiery harissa marinade, a traditional spice of North African cuisine. The marinade also pairs well with chicken, seafood and vegetables.


Step by step
1 Preheat a lightly greased char-grill pan or barbecue to high. Take 2 red capsicums and quarter; discard seeds and membranes. Take 15 large, long red chillies (about 300gm), and halve lengthways, discarding stalks. Cook capsicums and chillies, skin-side down, until skin blisters and blackens (10 minutes for chillies and 20 minutes for capsicums).

2 Cover with plastic wrap or baking paper; stand for 10 minutes. Peel away skin and set aside. Meanwhile, place 2 tbsp cumin seeds and 1 tbsp coriander seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat, cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Transfer to a small mortar and pestle and finely grind.

3 Place capsicums and chillies in a large deep mortar and pestle with spices, 10 finely chopped garlic cloves, 6 fresh coriander roots, and 1 tsp sea salt flakes and pound to a paste. Gradually add 2 tbsp olive oil until combined; season to taste. Makes 1½-2 cups.

Preheat oven to 180˚ C. Place a 2kg bone-in, Frenched lamb leg in a large bowl and coat with half of the harissa. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste. Place lamb on a greased wire rack in a roasting pan, and roast, until browned and cooked to medium-rare (1¾-2 hours). Set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and scatter with coriander leaves. Serve with roasted mixed baby heirloom carrots, herbed couscous and remaining harissa and charred lemon halves on the side. If you have time, marinate the lamb overnight for a deeper flavour, otherwise a couple of hours will do the trick.

Did you know?
Green harissa, made from green chillies and coriander, is ideal for barbecued meats, especially chicken. Rose harissa, made from tomatoes, red chillies and smoked paprika, as well as dried rose petals and rosewater, works well with seafood. The fragrant rose balances the heat of the chillies.

Recipe and images: Gourmet Traveller magazine

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