Harissa is an North African condiment or chili paste that gives a little zip to a dish. It’s fun to use instead of cocktail sauce and is delicious whisked into broths or soups with as heavy a hand as you like. It’s often used in tagine (a stew or long braise) to give the sauce a dark red, rusty color and a little or a lot of heat. There are many different versions of harissa, they can be smooth, coarse, extra hot, or very garlicky.
An Algerian chef named Michel Anik, whom I worked with at 8 Holyoke in Harvard square, taught me to use sun-dried tomatoes as a sweet concentrated tomato element, which gives the harissa a consistency similar to a thick ketchup or jam.
- 1 cup ground Urfa chilies
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2 large cloves).
- ½ cup, sun dried tomatoes, soaked in warm water for at least 1 hour
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon moroccan ras el hannout
- ¼ cup olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and purée them on high speed until smooth, for about 3 minutes. The harissa should be as smooth as a thick ketchup. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
Nutritional information is based on 32 servings, but does not include moroccan ras el hannout recipe. For nutritional information on moroccan ras el hannout recipe, please follow the link above.