Moroccan Harissa Lamb with Chickpeas

On a long haul flight back from Las Vegas to Sydney, I read from cover to cover an issue of Bon Appetit magazine. In the magazine was a very simple recipe for chicken in Harissa with chickpeas. Having nothing else to do, I began ‘fantasising’ about cooking it when I eventually got off the excruciatingly long flight. Once home, imagine my horror when realising I’d left the magazine on the plane. The pain slowly eased as I remembered how simple it was to cook. So, off I went to shop for some of the ingredients. Once again, imagine my horror as I returned home to discover I’d forgotten to buy chicken. I’d bought every meat other than chicken at the butchers. Not being able to face any more horror, I settled on the same recipe, using lamb. And you know what!? It was delicious!! Flavourful, subtle and really something special. A very happy mistake and worth all the drama.

INGREDIENTS:
1kg lamb chump chops
1 tablespoon ghee or oil
1 onion (halved and thinly sliced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons Harissa paste
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
400ml low sodium beef stock
Salt & pepper
1 x 400g can chickpeas (drained)
1/4 cup fresh parsley (finely chopped)

DIRECTIONS:
In a large heavy based pan, heat the ghee over a moderate heat. Brown the meat on both sides as remove from the pan. Add the onion, garlic and mint and stir for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the Harissa and tomato purée and mix well before adding the beef stock. Return the lamb to the pan and season well with salt & pepper. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pan and cook gently for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until the meat is very tender. Tumble in the chickpeas and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

SERVING:
Squeeze over half the lemon, sprinkle over the parsley and serve alongside vegetables or cous cous with the remaining lemon cut into wedges to squeeze over as you see fit.

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