One of the best things about having spent many years living and working overseas, is the exposure to a huge number of different tastes and cuisines.
One of the many regions in which I learnt a lot about new flavours was throughout North Africa and the Middle East, where blends of spices and botanicals create dishes bursting with flavour.
Since being back in the UK, I am pleased to be able to create some of these dishes very easily with ingredients from the likes of Belazu, who produce some stunning products, including the one used in this dish – a Rose Harissa.
Harissa is a chilli pepper paste that originates from North Africa, who’s main ingredient is roasted red peppers, the addition of rose petals to this gorgeous paste, lifts it to even greater heights.
The fragrant and versatile paste can be used in a number of ways, with one of my favourite being as a rub for lamb.
Simply take your lamb and rub the paste into the meat, making sure its fully covered, before sprinkling with some sesame in seeds. Leave for at least 15 mins, but the longer the better.
I like to ensure that the fat on the chops is fully rendered, so to do this I take a pan on a low heat and place the lamb chops in the pan with the fat side down. You will need to push all the pieces together so they hold each other up on their side. At this stage you do not want to start cooking the meat, so leave the heat on low for around 10 mins, you will see the fat melting into the pan, but remove from the pan if the meat itself starts cooking.
When the fat has been rendered to your liking, take from the pan and remove the excess oil.
Now you can cook the lamb. Heat the pan to a high heat and place the chops in so it sizzles turning down to medium heat. I like my lamb cooked medium so I cook for two minutes on each side, before allowing to rest for another 2-3 mins.
A great accompaniment to this lamb is a lemon and mint couscous. Simply add some chopped mint to some couscous and pour over liquid (Hot water or stock as per couscous directions) and allow it sit covered for around 15 mins – this is something you can do before you start cooking the lamb so its all ready at the same time.
Once the couscous is ready, just add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and fold through before serving.
You can also add a yogurt dip. I make one by mixing a small pot of yogurt with a tablespoon of tahini, 1 clove of garlic minced, a squeeze of lemon and a handful of chopped mint.
I have previously collaborated with Belazu, however this piece and the ingredients used were not part of that collaboration