A to Z Project: H is for HARISSA

H is for: cop-out

OK, this was a little bit of a cop-out but let me explain.

Harissa isn’t so much of an ingredient as it is a combination of spices and other ingredients that form a sort of paste that is then used to season or marinate various foods from meats to soups. Chili peppers , serrano peppers, garlic, coriander, red chili powder, caraway and some vegetable or olive oil are typically what’s found in harissa. Don’t worry, I plan on using single ingredients from now on but in my defense harissa is a fairly new ingredient and one I’d never cooked with before and really is an “ingredient” and not something you’re typically going to prepare, like a sauce. So, there.

But that’s not all of the copping out. I’d planned on using lamb as it’s traditional in Moroccan cuisine where harissa is ubiquitous like ketchup or BBQ sauce here in the States. I went with chicken. I know, I know, total cop-out but just bear with me. Chicken was available here at the house and I didn’t feel like running out and plopping down $25 for lamb shanks that looked like they’d barely feed the 4 of us as the dinner was a sort of impromptu deal and I had to MacGyver it.

Oh and I maybe copped out on the preparation as I sort of tossed some chicken in with a bunch of harissa and let the two of them have some deep conversation for a couple of hours before I tossed it all on the grill. There; that’s all the copping-out I did, I promise. Judge away, fair readers.

To be fair, it tasted really good. It photographed horribly, but flavor-wise the grilled chicken with harissa on grilled flatbread was great; spicy, flavorful, a little smoky and the flatbread with just a bit of char on it really made it a winner. This is not the spiciest harissa I’ve tried but it was super flavorful; probably a safer play when feeding the family. These would make killer tacos for fans of the spicy and you can serve yogurt alongside to help cool things down for those haters of the spice. Or, try thinly sliced cucumber on top for a little crunch and extra flavor. I think as hot sauces or pastes to add to your meal go, I’m still a firm believer in using sriracha but I will be keeping the harissa close because it has far more flavor than sriracha and is far more versatile.

Next up, the letter I? What the hell starts with I? Ice? Looks like I have my work cut out for me…

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