My apologies for my absence. As some of you may know, I’m a teacher by day and a home chef by night. Two very different roles but similar in some ways. I’ve had more experience teaching than cooking as I’ve only started to cook ‘seriously’ after I got married and owned my own kitchen exactly 3 years ago. Well, coming back to my absence- it’s the examination period and there was a pile of essays to be marked. Cooking takes a back seat on such occasions and I only cook very uninspired noodles,salad, rice etc. Thankfully, I’ve managed to clear the piles of marking and am back to cooking up a storm in my apartment kitchen. Planning and cooking meals gets me excited. The kitchen is one place where I feel ‘zen’. Correcting punctuation and spelling mistakes drives me insane at times and cooking keeps my sanity intact. To celebrate the end of marking (for the time being), I decided to be inspired by exotic Morocco. It has been a dream of mine to visit the beautiful Marrakech souks and get swept away in the beauty of Moorish architecture in Morocco. But till then, I shall have to be content with eating Moroccan/Middle-eastern inspired food.
This was my first attempt at cooking with harissa and so, I used a store-bought harissa paste instead of making one from scratch. I’ve managed to find a good recipe for homemade harissa but that is for another post 🙂 It’s important to marinate the lamb cutlets for at least an hour. Do not coat the meat with too much of the harissa paste is this will lead to a build up on your grill pan. Besides, harissa packs a punch as it uses a lot of spices,dried chilli and garlic. So a little goes a long way. The entire dish comes together in just about 45-30 minutes of cooking time. Pair it with a glass of wine for a celebration or date night.
Harissa Lamb with Citrus Herb Potatoes
Serves 2 (Main Course)
- 6 frenched lamb cutlets
- Good quality Harissa paste
- Sea salt
- Large handfuls of flat-leaf parsley,mint,coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, seeds and pith removed and finely chopped
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 500-750g of baby potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
Rub a thin layer of harissa over the lamb cutlets and leave to marinate for at least an hour. Sprinkle sea salt over the lamb if your harissa lacks salt.
In a bowl, mix the chopped herbs and chilli with olive oil,lemon juice and salt to taste in a glass bowl. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook till you can pierce them easily with a fork. Alternatively, you could steam them.
Immediately after potatoes are cooked, drain them in a colander and in a medium bowl toss the drained, hot potatoes with 3/4 of the herb,chilli,oil mixture.
Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Lightly brush some olive oil over the lamb cutlets. Grill lamb cutlets to your preferred doneness. Rest lamb for at least 15-20 minutes after cooking.
Serve lamb cutlets with potatoes salad and drizzle the remainder of the herb, chilli oil over the lamb.
This was one of the best flavours for lamb I’ve tasted. The harissa lends a mild smoky flavour to the lamb and the herb citrus dressing on the potatoes and lamb is a perfect bright and zesty compliment to it. You could experiment with other herbs for the herb oil. The red chilli adds a very mild heat but you could leave it out. This is simple and delicious…you’ve got to try it!