Moroccan Lamb with Harissa-spiced Couscous and Chickpea Salsa

Alan Murchison spends time developing the hot and piquant north African flavours in this delicious recipe, and the result is worth the work
Moroccan Lamb with Harissa-spiced Couscous and Chickpea Salsa
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: plus low-temperature cooking overnight
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 35 minutes plus 24 hrs marinading
  • Effort: medium


For the Moroccan lamb marinade

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted
  • 1 large pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp juniper berries
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tbsp rosemary
  • 50 g garlic
  • 1 tbsp coriander stalks
  • 150 ml olive oil

For the confit tomatoes

  • 1 kg on-the-vine cherry tomatoes
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil

For the harissa

  • 7 red peppers, stalks removed, deseeded and cut into quarters
  • 15 red chillies
  • 1 pinches saffron
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 160 g tomato purée
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander

For the harissa-spiced couscous

  • 120 ml tomato juice
  • 120 ml chicken stock
  • 160 g couscous
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp diced courgettes
  • 40 g harissa, (see above)
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander

For the chickpea salsa

  • 240 g cooked chickpeas, peeled
  • 1 tsp finely diced red chillies
  • 1/2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • small bunch coriander, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • pinches sugar

For the lamb

  • 2 x 240 g lamb rump steaks
  • 75 ml olive oil
  • 125 ml white wine

Tips and Suggestions

The recipe for the marinade makes enough for cooking 20 lamb rump steaks, so use what you need and any remainder can be kept in an airtight container and stored for up to a week in the fridge.


1. For the Moroccan lamb marinade: put all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go.

2. To marinate the lamb rump steaks, rub enough of the paste to cover the meat and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

3. For the confit tomatoes: preheat the oven to 60C/140F.

4. In small batches, blanch the tomatoes in boiling salted water for 10 seconds and refresh in a bowl of iced water. Remove the skins and arrange evenly on a non-stick baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and put in the oven overnight, or until the tomatoes have reduced in volume by half. Allow to cool, then place in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to serve.

5. For the harissa: lay the pepper quarters skin-side up on a baking tray and lightly brush with olive oil. Place under a hot grill until the skin has slightly blackened but is not burnt. Cover with cling film and leave for an hour.

6. Peel off the pepper skins and discard. Place the peppers in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and blend to a smooth paste.

7. For the couscous: in a saucepan, bring the tomato juice and chicken stock to the boil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

8. Place the couscous in a large bowl and pour over the boiling stock. Quickly cover with cling film and leave to steam for 2-3 minutes. Stir the couscous with a fork to separate the individual grains, then cover again and leave for a further 4 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff up the couscous with a fork.

9. Heat the oil n a frying pan and lightly fry the courgette for 2-3 minutes until tender. Transfer to a plate to cool.

10. Stir the courgette into the couscous, along with the harissa and coriander. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

11. For the chickpea salsa: mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

12. For the lamb: preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Scrape off the excess marinade from the lamb rumps.

13. Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan and fry the lamb on both sides for 2-3 minutes on each side until the meat is caramelised evenly. Put into the oven and cook for 8-9 minutes (for medium rare), or until cooked to your liking, turning twice during cooking. Remove from the oven and place on plates to rest for 10 minutes. Thickly slice just before serving.

14. Discard the excess oil and return the pan to the heat. Deglaze the pan with white wine and cook over a high heat until the liquid has reduced enough to make a sauce.

15. To serve, pile the couscous onto plates and arrange the lamb slices on top. Spoon the chickpea salsa and confit tomatoes around the sides and drizzle with the white wine sauce.

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