Field Notes

Hot Sauce Field Guide: Harissa

This red pepper condiment is ubiquitous on the tables of restaurants and homes alike in its native Tunisia, and nearby countries including Algeria, Libya and Morocco. But it has made serious inroads in the States as well, appearing with regularity on the menus of top restaurants, and on supermarket shelves. Use it as a marinade on chicken or lamb, mix it into stir-fries, or whip it with goat cheese for a snack.

Yield:

  • 1 1/4 cups
  • 1 sun-dried tomato
  • 3 ounces whole dried chiles, such as guajillo or New Mexico
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, peeled, stem and seeds removed
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground caraway
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, add the tomato and the whole dried chilies. Cover with boiling water and set a plate inside the bowl to keep the chilies submerged. Let sit for 10 minutes. Then drain, and remove the stems from the chilies. Place the rehydrated chilies and tomato in a blender. Add the roasted bell pepper, garlic, shallot, coriander, cumin, and caraway. Turn on the blender and add the olive oil in a steady stream until thoroughly combined. Season the mixture with salt. Store in airtight glass jars in the refrigerator. The harissa will keep for one month.

Recipe by The Chili Lab. 

Image by Bon Appetite.