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.


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

Moroccan Spice Rub

This is such a versatile rub , delicious , smoky and fragrant, so easy to prepare and so impressive. I use it on pork chops , other cuts of meat and even tofu or potatoes. I have even  rubbed small , new potatoes , boiled rubbed with the paste and grilled and a medly of other grilled vegetables and tossed them into couscous…oh what a vegan feast.

Makes 1/2 cup

Fine Cooking

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1 Tbs ground cumin

1 Tbs paprika

1 Tbs ground black pepper

1 Tbs ground coriander

1 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 Tbs lemon juice

3 Tbs chopped garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a food processor and blend , scraping the sides occasionally ,until you have a paste. Use on your favorite meat , vegetables or tofu.

Spiced Chicken Thighs in Tomato broth with Olives and chickpeas

I love this Moroccan inspired Tagine style    recipe because it is an all in one meal, just serve with a simple salad and some pita bread.

The recipe uses chicken thighs as they are flavorful and remain juicy even with longer cooking.

Serves 2

Source Cuisine


1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp cayenne

pinch salt


4 chicken thighs

1/2 cup diced onion

1 tbs fresh minced ginger

1 tbs minced garlic

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tsp tomato paste

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup Kalamata olives , pitted and halved

1 tbs honey

1 lemon , cut into wedges

1 bay leaf

Chopped fresh parsley

salt to taste

Combine spices and salt in a dish , then rub over chicken thighs; let stand 5 minutes. Heat oil in a skillet over medium, add chicken, skin side down , and saute until browned on both sides, 10 minutes total. Remove chicken and pour off all but 1 tbs drippings.

Add onion and saute 3 minutes, stir in the ginger ,garlic ,red pepper flakes and cinnamon stick ; cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Deglaze with wine and tomato paste, stirring to combine. Simmer until liquid evaporates.

Add tomatoes, broth , chickpeas, olives , honey ,lemon and bay leaf; stir to combine. Arrange chicken on top, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is reduced, 20 to 25 minutes.

Finish with parsley and salt just before serving.


Moroccan Kefta Kebabs

Street food is very popular in the Moroccan culture . Here vendors grill Sausage shaped spiced minced lamb , pulling them deftly into Moroccan bread and topped with fiery Harissa and tomato sauce. I personally love to top the “sandwich ” off with raw ,thinly sliced red onion and a few sprigs of parsley ,for color and freshness.This recipe was inspired by Tess Mallos.

1 small onion ,roughly chopped

2 tbs chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tbs chopped cilantro

1 lb 2 oz minced lamb

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

freshly ground black pepper, 1 tsp salt

Lemon wedges for serving

Put onion ,parsley and coriander in the bowl of a food processor and process to a puree. Add lamb ,cumin , paprika , cayenne pepper , black pepper and salt . Process to a paste , scraping down the bowl as needed.

Divide the lamb mixture into 8 portions. With moistened hands form each portion into a sausage shape about 3 1/2 inches long. Chill.

Just before grilling  “flatten ” slightlyand push a skewer through. ( if the kebab is too rounded , the meat is likely to fall off the skerer. Grill on a hot grill till well browned about 10 minutes completly.

Serve the Kefta with small bowls of Lemon wedges and salad greens, also a small bowl of cumin mixed with salt to be sprinkled on as desired. If desired serve the kefta on Moroccan bread with a spicy tomato sauce ,sliced red onions and parsley.