Eating clean has really improved my ability to improvise a recipe, mostly by taking an established recipe and making it my own. I have learned how flexible most recipes are and I am really having fun playing around with recipes so I can post them on my blog! Tonight was homemade harissa. TDL and I are starting a Whole 30 tomorrow and our store-bought tube of harissa is definitely not Whole 30-approved, so I decided to see if I could make it. The results were fantastic!
This recipe is very flexible, so use what you have and play around with it! I based my recipe on this one.
2 small (or one large) red peppers, seeded and sliced in half
5-6 dried chilies (I used what I had in my pantry, I have no idea what type they were, and I don’t think it matters)
5-6 dried tomatoes
1/2 cup boiling water
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
Juice of 1/2 lemon
salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Place the red peppers on a baking dish and stick them in an oven heated to 400 F. You want to cook them until they make your house smell delicious and have softened up a bit- I just cooked them until I was ready to put them in the food processor. Meanwhile, boil 1/2 cup of water and once it boils, remove from heat and add dried chilies and dried tomatoes. Let them soak until they are soft-ish (save the water). While the dried veggies are soaking, add the garlic, spices, and lemon to a food processor. Then add the soaked veggies and their soaking water (you can use less if you want a thicker paste). By now your red peppers should be ready- take them out of the oven and add them to the food processor. Blend until you achieve a paste-like consistency. Taste (mmm, spicy goodness) and decide how much EVOO and salt you want to add. Once you achieve perfection, you can store the harissa in your fridge for a couple weeks. Most importantly, once you achieve harissa-perfection, you can be proud of how exotic your cooking has become! Enjoy!