Harissa lamb with spinach and chickpeas

Harissa lamb with spinach and chickpeas

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy

If possible, start this recipe the night before, to allow plenty of time for the meat to marinate.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons harissa paste
6 tablespoons greek yoghurt
2 loins lamb, (from a 6–7 bone rack)
2 red onions
4 garlic cloves
2 red chillies
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
400g tinned chickpeas, drained weight (or cooked)
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 x 400 g tins chopped tomatoes
200g baby spinach
1/4 bunch coriander
freshly ground black pepper

For the tzatziki

Quantity Ingredient
1/4 cucumber
1/2 garlic clove
1/2 lemon
few sprigs mint
150g greek yoghurt


  1. Mix the harissa paste with the Greek yoghurt and spread all over the lamb to coat evenly. Place in a large plastic food bag and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes, but ideally overnight in the fridge.
  2. Heat the oven to 180ºC.
  3. Halve, peel and finely dice the red onions, peel and crush the garlic and halve, deseed and finely dice the chillies. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low heat, add the onions and sweat until translucent and soft. Add the garlic and chillies and cook for 1 minute. Add the ground spices and cook for a further 1 minute.
  4. Increase the heat to medium and add the chickpeas, sugar and tomatoes. Allow to simmer for 20–30 minutes until syrupy. If the liquor appears too thin, boil it vigorously for 2–3 minutes; if too thick, add a little water.
  5. To make the tzatziki, peel, halve and deseed the cucumber, then cut into fine dice or grate. Put the cucumber into a sieve, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and leave to drain for 20 minutes. Crush the garlic, juice the ½ lemon and finely chiffonade enough mint leaves to give you 2 teaspoons. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the cucumber and put in a small bowl with the yoghurt, garlic and mint; stir well to combine. Taste and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper, then cover and refrigerate until needed.
  6. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium to high heat, until hot. Wipe off the marinade from the lamb, season with salt and pepper and brown the fillets evenly all over. Transfer to a roasting tin and cook in the oven for 6–10 minutes, according to your preference; the lamb should ideally be served pink/medium.
  7. Wash the spinach well, add it to the chickpea mixture and stir until just wilted. Taste and adjust the seasoning and keep warm.
  8. Remove the lamb from the oven and leave to rest for 3–4 minutes. Pick the leaves from the coriander stalks.
  9. Carve the lamb into even slices. Divide the chickpea mixture between 4 plates, top with slices of the lamb and scatter the coriander leaves over the top. Serve with the tzatziki.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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