NM Style Harissa and Couscous Style Quinoa

Our friend, Donna made an outrageously delicious Moroccan chicken dish with olives and preserved lemons. She asked me to bring a side dish. I brought a “couscous” style red quinoa pilaf (recipe below). But I also realized that such a lovely dish also called for a harissa. This Harissa is not as fiery as some. It is mostly flavor forward with a long lingering finish that merges flavors and heat.

Couscous Style Quinoa

2 TBS Olive oil

½ C. Red onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 TBS Fresh ginger, grated

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground cumin

1½ C. Quinoa, well rinsed (If you don’t rinse it, it will be bitter.)

3 C. Chicken stock

Put oil in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for one minute. Add onion and cook for two minutes. Add garlic, ginger, cinnamon and cumin, stir well and cook for two minutes. Add the quinoa and stir well to coat with oil. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes. All of the liquid should be absorbed, If not stir well and cook a bit more. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Our friend, Donna made an outrageously delicious Moroccan chicken dish with olives and preserved lemons. She asked me to bring a side dish. I brought a “couscous” style red quinoa pilaf (recipe below). But I also realized that such a lovely dish also called for a harissa. This Harissa is not as fiery as some. It is mostly flavor forward with a long lingering finish that merges flavors and heat.

Harissa, NM Style 

2 dried ancho chiles, seeded and stems removed

2 dried guajillo chiles, seeded and stems removed

2 dried red New Mexico chiles, seeded and stems removed

1 dried chipotle , seeded and stem removed

1 tablespoon coriander seed

1 tablespoon cumin seed

¼ C. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon saltolive

1 tablespoon fresh mint

¼ C.chopped fresh cilantro

Put the ancho, guajillo, New Mexico and chipotle peppers along with coriander and cumin seed into a dry sauté pan over medium heat. Watch closely and shake frequently. Don’t let the chiles burn or they will be bitter. When the aromas of the chiles and spices begin to appear, remove from heat and transfer to a spice grinder, blender or mortar and pestle. Break the chiles into small pieces. Grind to a powder. Transfer all ingredients to a blender (If they’re not already there.)  Drizzle the olive oil as needed to form a paste. Add the salt, mint and cilantro and pulse until you have a uniform paste, scraping down as needed. Store in a bowl or jar in the refrigerator with the a thin layer of  olive oil poured over the top. Refrigerate until ready to use. This harissa Will keep up to three days refrigerated or two months frozen. 

Make sure that the surface is covered with a layer of oil each time you use some. When you run out of Harissa, the remaining oil is great to have around for dressings or sauces. Talk about an outrageous pastry for lamb empanadas! Ah, but that’s a tale to be told another time…

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About Steve Collins

Married to the endlessly fascinating Billie for many years (but who's counting) Love to cook and share the fun with others. Travel is always fun. Into astrology (Aries, Leo, Gemini)
This entry was posted in cooking, Moroccan, The Home Chef, World food. Bookmark the permalink.

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