If you have a greenhouse you will currently, most likely, find yourself besieged by chillies. Too many cold nights will have forced you to uproot the greenhouse plants and bring in what harvest you can. And so you have a lot of chillies to deal with.

Well, there is relief for the chilli-swamped amongst us. And it is harissa. This North African paste uses armfuls of chillies, is a doddle to make, keeps for yonks, and is endlessly useful in the kitchen. You can find my recipe for homemade harissa below.

Once you have a few pots nestling in the fridge you will find all sorts of uses for them. For example:

They jazz up roast potatoes a treat. Cut the peeled spuds into small cubes and toss them in a teaspoon of harissa (use more depending on the strength of your harvest and your diners’ fortitude) then roast for 30 minutes at 210C. I would eat these on their own, but they are great with a juicy roast chicken or a scattering of feta too.

Harissa also breathes life into a bland salad. This week I opened my fridge to find it full of odds and ends – limp salad leaves, bendy carrots and the like – so I finely diced the lot and made a dressing with harissa, olive oil and a dab of honey. Never was a fridge-foraged slaw of slightly moldy veg so delicious.

 

(PS – in other news…. if you’ve started thinking about Christmas – and if not: why not? – you might like to check out my new supper club gift vouchers. They come with pre-paid unique codes that allow the recipient to book any G&G supper club they like. Christmas sorted. You’re welcome.)

Chilli Harissa

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves: Makes 1 jar

Chilli Harissa

A quick way to preserve your chilli harvest. This easy North African paste is terrific stirred into potatoes before roasting or used to make a salad dressing.

  • 12-16 large green chillies
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Few drops of rosewater (optional)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Arrange the chillies on a baking tray in a single layer and roast them in the oven for 25-20 minutes or until the skins are very charred. Remove from the oven and put the hot chillies in a plastic bag. Seal and leave for 5 minutes. This will steam the skins off the flesh so you peel them easily. Once cool enough to handle, peel and de-seed them. You can leave some seeds in if the chillies are mild.
  2. Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry pan then crush to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Add the garlic, salt and peeled chillies to the spices and continue to pummel to a paste. Stir in the puree, lemon juice, olive oil and rosewater (if using) then spoon everything into a jar.
  3. Use within a few weeks or freeze and thaw when needed.
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