Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lamb and Harissa 2.0, now with extra lamb.

I love me some lamb. And when I started to realize that I couldn't put something with butter in it on every meal if I wanted to stay off biggest loser I became a fan of yoghurt on my lamb. Then I discovered harissa. Man those Tunisians know their shit. A teaspoon of that through some yoghurt on a lamb cutlet is about as close to heaven as this non believer will ever come.

The problem with harissa, for those of us that do not enjoy the inner city lifestyle is that it is about as easy to source as a (insert stupid sponsors name here who do not own the team) wallabies win at Eden Park. When you do find it you'll need that second mortgage because it sells for about $10 for a teaspoon.

I'm addicted to the stuff and yesterday it struck me that it can't be that hard to make, especially as there had been a fair chunk of difference between the bottles I had bought at various small boutique delis in Brisbane. So I fired up the magic intergoogle and found that it was actually ridiculously easy.

Take even amounts of chilli, dried and reconstituted, or fresh and garlic. Whack them in a food processor with a squeeze of lemon juice and pulverize. Toast off some cumin and caraway seeds, grind them up with a little salt and add them in. Pulverize more. Add some olive oil to loosen the paste. Done.

Because I have an inbuilt talent to avoid following a recipe, I added some lemon zest and a pinch of coriander powder, but from the reading I've done on harissa, I don't think it matters as every region had it's own little twist.

The reason for the harissa was the the Neil Perry slow cooked lamb shoulder. All it takes is a bit more of those same spices smeared over the lamb with oil, then put in a roasting pan with foil tent or do as I did and use my awesome Aldi French pan. A dash of white wine in the bottom and a cup of water then go away for seven hours. Three at 130 deg and 4 at 110 deg. I now have a new favorite way to eat lamb. The meat was so tender, lifting off along the muscle.

Served with some mashed potato and peas and covered with that harissa yoghurt, mixed with a dash of lemon juice, it was one of the tastiest bits of lamb I have had in, well almost forever. If only the rugby had been that good.

Just an little extra. We had a big day Sunday and I didn't feel like cooking much. So I whipped up a small batch of Maggie Beers sour cream pastry and lined a small pie tin. While that was happening I quickly boiled some potatoes. In a small frypan I threw in a couple of chopped handfuls of the cold lamb with a dash of butter. Once warmed through I sprinkled in a teaspoon of cornflour and cooked for a bit. Then I threw in some white wines and harissa for gravy and cooked it down a bit, threw it in the cooked pie casings and covered in mashed potato. Back into the oven and once there were little crunchy bits on the mash lid, out came possibly the greatest pie I have ever eaten.

- Lantanaland from my iPad



  1. That sounds (and I bet was) delicious.

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  3. Sounds fantastic, I am going to try it for tomorrow's dinner. Thank you