The dune-sea near Borj el-Khadra looked ethereal in the moonlight... Here the air was so still, so dry, it carried no scent at all - perfect to focus one’s senses on the food : lamb and chickpea tagine cooked in a divinely fragrant Harissa and tomato sauce. Our hostess assured us that it takes great skill to create a flavourful Harissa... the type favoured by modern (read rich!) Berber men.
Harissa is built on a base of natural ingredients - it is pure red pepper and spice flavour. It is not exceptionally hot, but the flavour base is robust enough to support it, if the cook would like to add more chilli.
Use in a tagine with lamb, aubergine and tomatoes - also delicious in a butternut puree served with glazed parsnip and a drizzle of argan oil.
Works exceptionally well with chicken: paint Harissa (mixed with a little olive oil and a chopped fresh chilli if more heat is desired) onto the chicken before cooking. Serve some sauce on the side, with salted lemon and toasted, flaked almonds.