I think spring has finally broken through. It’s as if overnight we now have all these lovely pink buds on our trees and I’m actually comfortable wearing short sleeves around the house. Hooray! With the better-late-than-never coming of spring and all things new, why not try something new for dinner this week? And speaking of new, I’m sure you’ve all made a batch of fresh Harissa Sauce by now and might be looking for ways to use it up? Well, here you go! A springtime use for that feisty Harissa.
This dish might sound tricky but really it isn’t at all. Lamb steaks are rubbed with a simple mixture of lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and cinnamon, seared and topped with Harissa. The cous cous cooks in 5 minutes and while that’s steaming you chop up half a cucumber, halve a few tomatoes and voila – dinner is served. But not just any ole’ dinner. This meal is one your family will remember and request again soon because it’s delicious and so unique. I must give most of the credit to the Harissa sauce – it kind-of does steal the spotlight. I suppose there’s one in every crowd.
If you can’t find lamb ‘steaks’ – which is merely leg of lamb in a steak shape, you can use lamb cubes and grill ka-bobs using the same marinate. Or try the recipe with chicken. Stew Leonards, where I’ve been doing some of my shopping since we’ve moved, has an amazing meat department. They’ve got every type and cut imaginable in these huge display cases, and at very reasonable prices I might add. If you can stand the swinging puppets and gimmicky tunes they play throughout the store (think the Chiquita Banana song), give it a try sometime if you can! I believe there are stores in Norwalk, Danbury and Yonkers now.
cinnamon lamb with harissa and tomato-cucumber salad
- 1 lb lamb steaks, 1/2″ thick
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbs canola oil
- 3/4 cup cous cous
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 seedless cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 Tbs red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2-3 Tbs Harissa (see recipe)
1. Combine lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Pour and rub mixture over both sides of lamb steaks. Marinate at room temperature 30 minutes.
2. Heat canola oil in skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. When hot, add lamb and sear each side 3-4 minutes until browned. Remove from skillet and let rest.
3. Bring 3/4 cup water to boil in small saucepan. Add pinch of salt. Add cous cous and stir. Cover and remove pan from heat. Allow to steam 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
4. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes and cucumber in medium bowl. Add remaining 1/2 tsp salt, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust dressing if desired.
5. Spoon cous cous onto platter. Top with lamb steaks. Using a slotted spoon, spoon salad over. Dollop harissa over lamb.
Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home magazine