Lamb and Harissa

lamb and harissa with broad beans

August 9th, 2012

I had a couple of suppers from my Australian lamb and sandwiches for lunch, but I still had about 2 lbs of tender meat left on the bone. I wasn’t feeling much like shepherd’s pie and there was a tin of harissa calling to me from the back of the cupboard…

This isn’t an authentic North African recipe, but broad beans, harissa and lamb are everyday ingredients in places like Morocco. I made the rest up based on what I had in the fridge.

Lamb and Harissa with Broad Beans recipe (serves 4):

2 lb cubed lamb
1 large onion (chopped)
6 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
2 sticks of celery (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
1 courgette (chopped)
1 green pepper (chopped)
8 button mushrooms (chopped)
1 lb broad beans (pod weight)
the juice of a lemon
1 1/2 pints of lamb stock
2 – 4 teaspoons of harissa (to taste)
A few sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme, ground in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of sea salt and 8 black peppercorns
2 bayleaves
about an inch squirt of anchovy paste
1 dessertspoonful of Spanish sherry vinegar (or to taste)
olive oil for cooking (as needed)


Using a large cast iron casserole with lid, fry the onions in olive oil until they go translucent. Next add the carrots, celery and garlic.

courgette, mushroom and pepper

Stir the vegetables for a few minutes before adding the courgette, green pepper and mushrooms.


After a few more minutes mix in the cubed lamb


and follow that with the ground herbs.

broad beans

Once the meat has a been mixed in, add the de-podded broad beans. Pour in the stock and lemon juice immediately and increase the heat to bring the liquid to simmering. I used stock made from the lamb leg bone and a chicken carcass, because I had one. Chicken, lamb or vegetable stock are good, but you might need a stock cube if you are not using a meat based stock.


I added the bay leaves and stirred in the anchovy paste before dolloping in the harissa. I like things quite hot, but used two teaspoonfuls of harissa paste to start with – use this to taste, you can’t take it out, but it’s easy to add a little bit more.

harissa, lemon and stock

When the casserole is bubbling away nicely, cover with the lid and put it into a preheated oven at 100ºC for 2 hours. I checked and stirred it every 30 minutes or so, but I’m sure it could be left alone for the duration.

lamb and broad beans with harissa

With 30 minutes to go I tasted the casserole and stirred in two more teaspoons of harissa. Just before serving I thought a dessertspoonful of sherry vinegar would give the dish a little extra zing… and it did!

Serve with couscous or toasted sourdough bread. After all that heat from the oven and harissa, I needed a nice chilled glass of Côtes du Rhòne rosé with my supper.

About Mad Dog
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21 Responses to Lamb and Harissa

  1. Really wonderful set of flavours. Nice piece of adaptation with store cupboard ingredients. I still have some sealed bottles of anchovy essence from when we moved here 10 years ago! Maybe they should stay sealed. I remember that Mark Hix uses anchovy essence in a lot of his recipes.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Roger. Anchovies are in a lot of savoury sauces, like Lea and Perrins. I’ve found that a little bit of paste adds a salty, savoury flavour, without any fishiness. I imagine the essence would keep for years 😉

  2. ChgoJohn says:

    That has to be the best use of £12 ever! Several suppers, sandwiches, and now this incredible dish. Excellent! I’ve never used anchovies/paste late in a dish’s preparation but I like the idea. I’ve always used them very early on. I’ve friends who “hate anchovies” but love the dishes I prepare with them, so long as I don’t mention that I’ve used them. Let that be a lesson for you. Don’t anger me at the dinner table or I’ll tell you what you’re really eating. 🙂

    • Mad Dog says:

      Definitely – that lamb was amazing value. I’ve seen recipes where little pieces of anchovy are poked in the holes at the garlic and rosemary stage of roasting lamb. I use the paste in lots of casseroles and sauces – I think it’s an essential ingredient and people never know it’s there 🙂

  3. Great recipe, wonderful flavour combinations going on. Yes I always poke anchovies, garlic and rosemary into my roast lamb, the anchovy just melts away and adds such a good savoury/salty note.

  4. Una pinta buenísima, ¡tu si que sabes! 🙂

  5. All these lovely flavours and that long slow cooking – this must have been delicious! And just the kind of dish that a Moroccan cook would put together with the leftovers of a large joint of lamb, I’m sure.

  6. Karen says:

    What a fantastic meal from what you had available. I think I would very much enjoy the spice and flavor of it. Great job, Mad Dog.

  7. Conor Bofin says:

    Another great job. Brilliant economical use of the lamb leg.

  8. Tessa says:

    Looks and sounds delicious! Harissa is now a must try for me.

  9. peasepudding says:

    I do love harissa and it would have made the perfect stew, authentic or not.

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