well, yes, making your own harissa seems pretty mad. but it's not exactly difficult and you do get a lot of it - we've been eating it all week (not sure that is always a good thing).

the picture is of some chicken roasted with harissa - basically, smother the chicken with the sauce (be generous), leave it in the fridge for a few hours if you can, then roast as normal. a word of advice - before you put the chicken in the oven, pour some oil over it and lightly grease the roasting tin. if you don't do this, the harissa just burns (which tastes ok but looked like an accident in a crematorium).

don't forget to make gravy with the leftover burnt bits in the tin - while the chicken is resting, pour away most of the oil from the tin, heat and pour some stock or water plus some lemon juice or white wine and stir until reduced, scraping all the nice bits into the sauce.


250g red chillies - (not the really hot, small ones. just the normal longish ones, deseeded and roughly chopped
3 heaped tsp ground caraway seeds
3 heaped tsp ground cumin seeds
4 garlic cloves
100g piquillo peppers (mine were from a jar, sold by most supermarkets) or 1 large red bell pepper roasted, peeled and seeded
1 dessertspoon tomato puree
1 dessertspoon red wine vinegar
2 level tsp sweet smoked paprika
6 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

put the chillies, half of the spices and pinch of salt to the food processor and blend. add the peppers and carry on blending until the paste is really smooth.

transfer to a mixing bowl and add the rest of the spices, the tomato puree, vinegar, paprika, olive oil and seasoning. mix well.

that's it. if you want to store it in the fridge, cover with a layer of olive oil.


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