When people refer to having a ‘glut’ of something, it usually refers to a bumper crop. All the raspberries ripening at once, huge runner bean harvests, or the ground being covered in windfall apples because you can’t pick them quickly enough.
In case I haven’t shouted it loudly-enough from the rooftops, I am writing a column for The Telegraph. It’s an A-Z of Unusual Ingredients, which means that my ‘glut’ is different to most.
I currently have about 3 litres of coconut oil. Extra-diligent recipe testing means that my shelves are lined with pots of homemade dukkah, and I’ve got far more Espelette pepper than most.
Now I’ve reached ‘H’ in the alphabet, my latest glut is harissa. Or – as those of you kind enough to read the latest column will know – a Tunisian blend called harous.
As you can imagine, I’ve been furiously cooking with all these ‘unusual ingredients’. But sadly I haven’t been quite as well-disciplined at translating these meals into blog posts.
Hopefully this harissa/harous recipe will be the start to resurrecting things. It’s a little bizarre to serve harissa lamb and harissa couscous on the same plate – but as I said, I’ve got a glut at the moment! And the different cooking methods mean that the harissa flavours are quite different in the lamb and the couscous. All in all, it’s a brilliantly quick, mid-week meal.
Harissa Lamb, Harissa Couscous, Broad Beans and Courgette
2 tablespoons of harissa
1 tablespoon of oil
1 generous pinch of salt
3 lamb leg steaks
1/2 stock cube
1 tablespoon of harissa
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 large courgette, roughly cubed
150g broad beans
Drizzle of olive oil
Pinch of fleur de sel (or just rock salt if you’re less pretentious)
A NOTE ON HARISSA: I used Paula Wolfert’s recipe for homemade harous, at the bottom of the article. If you’re using a shop-bought harissa, then just be careful, as the heat changes a lot from brand to brand. These amounts would work well with a milder variety like Belazu’s Rose Harissa, but scale down the amounts of harissa for a fierier brand like Ferrero.
1. Turn on the grill, and boil a kettle-full of water.
2. Mix the harissa, oil and salt, and then massage the mixture into the lamb. Ideally, you’d do this in the morning before going for work. But not to worry if you pick up the steaks on the way home – they benefit from marinating, but it’s not imperative.
3. Put the harissa-lamb steaks under the grill for two minutes.
4. Meanwhile, pour 150ml of boiling water into a measuring jug. Add a stock cube. Then add the couscous and harissa. Stir, and then cover with a flat plate.
5. Pour the remainder of the kettle water into a pan. Bring it to the boil again, and then add the broad beans and courgette.
6. Flip over then lamb and cook it for a couple of minutes on the other side. Ideally, it should get around 2-3 minutes on either side, under a HOT grill, so the outside starts to brown, but the inside is still pink. If the lamb finishes before the vegetables/couscous, then that’s just great. Just leave it to rest on the side.
7. Drain the vegetables. Season with a little salt and a drizzle of olive oil, and divide them between three plates.
8. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Add more harissa/salt to taste. Stir in the spring onions, and divide between the three plates.
9. Slice the lamb steaks into thick, bread soldier-like chunks. I personally think lamb looks so much nicer when the pink inside is exposed, rather than serving it as a single brown lump on a plate.
10. If you really are trying to get rid of a glut, serve with an extra dollop of harissa on the side!