Harissa

Most evenings during a hectic work week, I want quick fix, easy – as – pie recipes just to get a nice meal on the table. I want soul warming food for my kids, especially when you can tell they’ve had a pretty long day at school and I’ve created a recipe that seems to work beautifully..

As my children grow up, constantly trying out new flavors that I’m discreetly plying into their food.. I’m trying to introduce a little more heat to their already discerning palates.

So last night, I had a little adventure with Harissa. Now harissa is a constant and very popular resident on my larder shelf, it’s somewhat mysterious, swirling and colourfully decorated packaging creating a stir amongst some of the regular spices gives it that exotic superiority. It’s taste profile, immediately I would say is smoky red peppers, hints of lime, coriander, cumin and undertones of mint and an after heat that follows.

Now this is where it gets interesting….I always stock up on spices whenever I travel and I have sourced from as far as I have traveled. With harissa paste..I definitely find that you will either find a brand that has a burn your brains out warning policy on their harissa or you will find a version I use, ( Seasoned Pioneers) that I must admit, hits the spot perfectly. It is definitely slightly on the spicy side, but if you are careful and not over generous – this recipe worked wonders with a nine and a seven year old. Note that I find Harissa paste as opposed to Harissa spice mix is always hotter for some reason

If in doubt for children, then separate the chicken thighs, onion, chorizo and onion mix and add just a tsp of Spanish paprika instead and follow the exact same method.

Ingredients

1 large onion sliced in thick wedges
1 packet of pork chipolatas ( or beef /chicken – just keep them small )
8 Chicken thigh pieces, skin on for more flavor but this can always be removed if you want to feel healthier. Slice in half to leave one boneless piece and one side left with the bone in
2 tsp minced garlic
8 slices of spicy chorizo
1 ½ tsp harissa spice mix or harissa paste
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup tomato juice
¾ cup cream
¼ cup red wine
1 tbs apricot jam
4 small bococcini balls or 2 large mozzarella balls, torn into pieces
1 bunch fresh parsley
Olive oil for light shallow frying

Method

Heat a large wide paella pan and add 3-4 tbs of olive oil.

When it is hot but not smoking, add the chipolatas. Fry until just beginning to brown. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, add the sliced chorizo, onion and garlic and fry until just beginning to crisp. Remove and place in the same bowl as the chipolatas.

Chorizo-Sausage

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In the same pan, add the chicken thighs and the boneless pieces, reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle over salt and black pepper and let these shallow fry until golden brown.

Now place the harissa paste or powder, the oregano, the tomato juice, the apricot jam, cream and the wine in a small jug. Combine well and pour over the chicken thighs.

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dried-oregano
Add the chorizo-chipolata-onion mix to the paella pan and spread out the ingredients evenly.

Cover with foil and let this cook on a low heat for a further 8-10 minutes.

Just before serving, heat up the grill to high. Spread out the mozzarella chunks and let this melt until golden and oozing!

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Harissa
Serve this with freshly baked garlic bread!

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