I know there are a huge variety of Harissa sauces out there, some fantastic and some not so good. The recipe that follows is one that I have used for years now, and I never tire of it. It’s got plenty of punch, but is not overwhelmingly hot. There are quite a lot of fresh herbs in the recipe which I think sets it apart. It makes a good amount, so there will be plenty leftover too.
Step 1: Harissa Marinated Lamb Ribs
Place all the ingredients, except lamb ribs, in a food processor and blend to form a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until required. Trim the fat cap off the lamb ribs, and any excess fat. Place the lamb ribs in a suitable dish, season well with salt and pepper and add half a cup of harissa over them. Rub and massage the harissa over the ribs and refrigerate for at least a day for best results. Refrigerate the rest of the harissa separately until required.
Step 2: Braising Marinated Lamb Ribs
Pre heat the oven to 150 degrees.
Place the ribs in a suitable sized braising or roasting dish. Add the chicken stock to the dish and cover with tin foil. Place tray on the stove top and heat for 3 minutes or so, to get the stock boiling around the ribs. Then move into the oven. Check tenderness after 50 minutes, then in 15 minute intervals after that. Remove the ribs from the oven when the meat is soft but not completely falling off the bone.
Cool, then refrigerate until required.
Step 3: Creamed Chickpeas and Roasted Eggplant
Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees. Place an oven tray in the oven to heat up.
Liberally brush the sliced eggplant with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Carefully place on the pre-heated oven tray and place in the oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and soft. Remove from the oven and cool.
Place the chickpeas along with the roasted garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh thyme in a food processor. Blend until smooth, then season with salt and pepper
To finish, chop the eggplant into biggish pieces and fold through the pureed chickpeas, along with the parsley. Refrigerate until required.
Step 4: Cooking and Serving
Heat up the char grill or BBQ to high heat. Oil the lamb ribs and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill to golden up and take on a bit of char action. Brush with extra harissa as you go.
To plate, spoon out a liberal amount of the creamed chickpea and eggplant, top with the ribs and a final spoon full of harissa. Good to go ... !
Photography by Kieran Scott