Pan Fried Lamb Chops with Harissa

Lamb chops are a favorite in my family and I am always looking for new ways to shine light on gamy tasing meat . Harissa , is a spicy  Middle Eastern condiment which , in this interpretaion includes store bought roasted red peppers , just a delicious addition . I always keep this sauce on hand to serve with other grilled meats and vegetables .

Tyler Florence

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Serves 4


1tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 small jar roasted red bell peppers , drained

2 garlic cloves

3 small fresh red chiles , chopped

1 tsp kosher salt

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

4 TBS extra virgin olive oil

12 fat lamb chops

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


Gather the cumin , coriander and caraway in a small skillet and toast over low heat until fragrant . Then grind to a powder in a spice mill or clean coffee grinder . Put the roasted bell peppers into a food processor along with the ground spices , garlic , chiles , salt , olive oil and lemon juice and pulse to puree.

When ready to eat , heat 2 TBS olive oil in each of 2 large skillets over medium heat . Sprinkle the chops on both sides with salt and pepper . Put the chops in the pan and sear for about 2 minutes on each side to brown . Serve chops with the Harissa.


Moroccan Vegetarian chilli

This dish will have you salivating while the heady aromas waft from the pot on your kitchen stove . The warm spices in this dish just keep you wanting more . Funny ,on a real fall day , like today , I could certainly go for a hot bowl of this delicious , heart warming chili .

Williams Sonoma

Serves 6

4 large ancho chilies

3 cups water

4 large whole garlic cloves , plus 6 large cloves , sliced

1 yellow onion , chopped

1  1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1  1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1  1/2 tsp ground cumin

1  1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 can ( 28  oz ) chopped tomatoes

1 butternut squash , 1  1/4 lb , halved , seeded , peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes .

2 cans chickpeas

2 Zuchini cut into 1/2 inch dice

1/3 cup sliced dried apricots

1/3 cup sliced pitted prunes

In a saucepan, combine the chillies and water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chillies to a work surface. Preserve the liquid. Discard the stems and seeds from the chillies. In a food processor or a blender, combine the chillies with the whole garlic cloves and 1/2 cup of the liquid. Process until smooth. Set aside.

Heat a heavy pot over medium heat. Coat the pot with a bit of olive oil. Add the onion, sliced garlic cloves, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, and corriander. Saute until the onion and garlic have softened. About 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, butternut squash and the chillie puree. Cover and simmer, stirring occassionally until the squash is just tender, about 25 minutes.

Stir in the chick peas with their liquid, the zucchini, dried apricots and prunes. Simmer, uncovered, until all the squashes are tender, about 15 minute more. Transfer to a warm serving dish and serve hot.

Lamb Tagine with green Olives

Let me start by assuring you , a Tagine is optional in this recipe , in fact , a covered Dutch oven works great . This recipe appeared quite recently in the New York Times , created by chef Andrew Carmellini . It is delicious and the warm spices fill the air with a heady aroma . The spice mixture called for here is one I like to keep on hand , but if you have trouble finding “ras el hanout ” , you can easily make up your own spice mixture with the recipe below.


3/4 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp paprika

Generous pinch cayenne

pinch saffron

Stir all the spices together , set aside


1/4 cup  extra virgin olive oil

2 lbs lamb stew meat , cut into chunks

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 medium onion , sliced into medium width pieces ( about 1 cup )1 clove garlic , peeled

1 tbs diced fresh ginger ( from about 1 inch )

juice of 1 orange

1  14 oz can diced or chopped tomatoes

1  2 inch long piece of orange peel

2 cups chicken broth

1 tsp honey

1 medium carrot , sliced 1/2 inch thick ( about 1 cup )

1 celery rib , sliced 1/2 inch thick ( about 1  cup)

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1  1/2 tbs sesame seeds

8 green olives , sliced into quarters ( about 1/4 cup )

In a large , ovenproof stew pot or Tagine , heat oil over medium high heat . Season lamb all over with salt and pepper . Add meat to pot and stir to coat in oil . Brown for about 5 minutes , stirring occasionally to make sure the meat browns evenly on all sides . Transfer the meat to a bowl and set it aside .

Lower the heat to medium and add the onion , stirring to coat . Saute for about a minute , until it begins to soften . Add the ginger and garlic and add the meat back to the pot . Stir everything together . Squeeze the orange juice into the pot and mix well . Add the tomatoes , orange peel , spice mixture , chicken broth and honey , mix well . Raise the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover the pot and put in in the oven  . Cook for 1 hour or until the meat is half cooked.

Stir in the carrots and celery and return the pot to the oven . Cook for another 30 to 40 minutes , until the sauce is thick and reduced and the lamb is tender.

While the tagine is in the oven , in a small pan  until golden , stirring  regularly to make sure the almonds don’t burn .

Remove the garlic and orange peel from the tagine . Add the olives and spoon the tagine onto a large serving plate . Sprinkle the almonds and sesame seeds on top . Serve immediately .

Moroccan chickpea and root vegetable soup with charmoula

When I lived in NYC I loved visiting Mike Bergen’s soup cart in the shadow of the Metlife building , especially for this amazing vegetarian Moroccan chickpea and root vegetable soup topped with a fresh herb chermoula topping . I later found out he used chicken stock so I simply took the liberty of switching to vegetable stock.

2 tbs olive oil

3 cups diced onions

2 cloves garlic , minced

1 inch piece ginger , peeled and finely minced

2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

pinch of saffron

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 cups  1/2 inch diced carrots

5 cups vegetable stock

1 cup 1/2 inch diced turnips

2 cups 1/2 inch diced parsnips

2 cups 1/2 inch diced sweet potatoes

1 cup 1/2 inch diced celery root

16 oz canned chickpeas drained and rinsed

2 cups canned crushed tomatoes

Heat oil in a soup pot . Add the onions , garlic , ginger and salt , sauteing until onions are translucent. Add the red pepper flakes , saffron , cinnamon , thyme and pepper , sauteing for 1 minute . Add carrots and stock . Bring to a boil and simmer until almost tender ,about 15 to 20 minutes . Add remaining root vegetables , and simmer for another 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender . Stir in chickpeas and tomatoes; return to a boil . Season to taste with salt and pepper , thinning with more stock if necessary . Serve with a spoon of Chermoula on top .


3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup chopped parsley

5 cloves garlic , minced

1 tbs paprika

1 inch piece of ginger peeled and minced

2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and black pepper to taste

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl .


These delicious bean ” dumplings ” are popular with all my friends and family . They are wholesome and nutritious and can be servedin a pita with hummus or baba ghanouj and a tomato and cucumber salad . Typically falafel are made with large broad beans , sold as skinned in Middle eastern stores , but I often revert to all chickpeas or a combination , as chickpeas are so widely available .

Serves 10

Claudia Roden

1 lb dried ( skinless ) split broad beans , soaked in cold water for 24 hours

salt and pepper

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

good pinch of ground chili pepper or cayenne

1 tsp baking soda or baking powder

1 large onion , very finely chopped or grated

5 scallions , very finely chopped

6 cloves garlic , crushed

2/3  cup  finely chopped flat leaf parsley

2/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

sunflower or light vegetable oil for deep frying

The long soaking  of the beans to soften is all -important . After soaking , drain the beans very well and let them dry out a little on a towel . Then put them in a food processor and process until they form a paste ., adding salt and pepper , cumin , coriander , chili powder and baking soda or powder ( these last two release carbon -dioxide gas , which causes the paste to rise slightly and lighten ).. The paste must be so smooth and soft so it will hold together when you fry . Let it rest for at least 1/2 an hour .

Add the rest of the ingredients , except the oil. If you have chopped the onion in the food processor , strain to get rid of the juice , or the rissoles could fall apart when you fry them .

Knead the mixture with well your hands. Take small lumps and make flat , round shapes 2 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick . Let them rest 15 minutes .

Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy pot until sizzling hot . Fry the patties in batches , without crowding them , until crisp and brown , turning them once over . Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels .

Serve hot .

New york times magazine Falafel

Falafel are a treasure exported from North Africa , and sold  as street fare all over New York city . These fried,  crisp , crunchy morsels take some planning ahead , but , honestly are worth all the time and effort .

New york Times Magazine

Makes 32

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

3 cups chickpeas      1/2 cup plus 1 tbs bulgar

3 medium yellow onions , roughly chopped

15 cloves garlic , peeled

3 tbs whole cumin seed

3 tbs whole coriander seed

1 tbs whole black peppercorns

1 tbs kosher salt , plus more to taste

3 tbs finely chopped mint

3 tbs finely chopped cilantro

3 tbs finely chopped parsley

3 tbs white sesame seeds

3 tbs baking soda

1 to 2 quarts canola oil

Place the chickpeas and bulgur each in a bowl and add water to cover by 2 inches . Cover and soak overnight.Drain well and grind through the small dye of a meat grinder into a large bowl set under a fine mesh strainer . Press on the onions to release the excess juice. Discard the juices then add the onions to the chickpea mixture . ( I use a food processor , careful not to OVERPROCESS )

In a small skillet over medium heat , toast the cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant . Transfer to a spice grinder, add the peppercorns and grind to a powder. Transfer the spices to the chickpea mixture , along with the salt , mint , cilantro , parsley and sesame seeds . Stir to combine . Mix in the baking soda and let stand for 30 minutes . season to taste with salt .

Heat a medium pot filled 2 inches with canola oil to 350*F. Using your hands , shape the chickpea mixture into 2 inch balls . Fry in batches for 3 minutes or until dark brown and cooked through.

Serve with Hummus , raita and Pita bread

Roasted Snapper with Tahini Chilli sauce

Here is a fresh and hhealthy approach to Lebanese cooking . The snapper is first roasted with some aromatics and then dressed with a slightly spicy creamy sauce made with Tahini paste , a sesame seed paste so flavorful you will forget its good for you. This makes a great week night supper as it takes about half an hour to prepare.

Two  2 lbs snapper

1 tbs grated fresh ginger

2 tsp ground sweet paprika

2 onions , sliced

1/4 cup water


1/2 cup tahini

1 tbs honey

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp  hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375*F . Brush a deep oven proof dish with melted butter or oil. 

Score each side of snapper in a diamond pattern . Rub with ginger and sprinkle with paprika.

Place half the onions in the prepared dish . Add fish and cover with remaining onions . Add water , cover dish and bake 30 minutes or until fish flakes when tested with a fork.

To make tahini  and chilli sauce. Heat ingredients until warmed through .

Remove fish from dish and serve with sauce.