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.

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)

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.

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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