This is the first time I’ve added a new country to the blog in quite a while. Unfortunately it’s not because I found some great new restaurant specializing in foods from Tunisia. Nope it’s because I was stuck in the house and had a left over ingredient from a Blue Apron meal I didn’t make, harissa paste. Harissa paste is used widely in North Africa but generally thought to have originated in Tunisia so I decided to run with it.
I expect you’re saying to yourself, “that looks like ketchup that’s been sitting out too long how did that inspire anything but nausea?” Well let me tell you. Since I haven’t been able to get out to the international eating places I decided I’d have to bring them to me and try out spices and recipes from countries I haven’t been able to find restaurants for. I had the harissa paste so this became the first entry in the quarantine series. Hopefully this will be a short series.
Harissa paste comes in many variations but basic elements are red peppers (hot and not), coriander, cumin, garlic, caraway seeds, and olive oil plus others stuff that strikes the creators fancy. When I peeled back the label on the Blue Apron version the smell of the peppers and cumin were very prominent and it smelled good. Now I had to figure out what to do with it.
I decided to use it in a chicken stew I threw together using some chicken and stock I made and froze to use as a base for soups and stews.
In keeping with the north African / Mediterranean theme I added a can of chickpeas and then some tomatoes and spinach for some additional color and taste. Of course the harissa paste of which there wasn’t as much as I would have liked. The aroma that filled the kitchen while the stew simmered was quite pleasant. Once it had simmered and thickened a bit I decided to serve it over rice to stretch this out for a couple of additional meals.
It was very hearty and delicious for this and the additional meals I made out of it. Two things I wish are that I’d had more harissa paste and that this paste had been a little hotter but otherwise this was a great use of a very versatile spice mixture / condiment. If you’ve never tried it don’t be shy about giving it a shot and if you have let me know how you liked it or didn’t as the case may be.
Since this is a new country there is a Tell Me More page you can check out for recipes, a music video, and a random fact.