Slow-Roast Harissa Lamb with Smashed Chickpeas and Parsley Dressing

0609roastlamb-628I do not love lamb. I believe this makes me un-Australian. What can I say? It has a musty flavour that I just can’t seem to get on board with. Others I’m told, love lamb in all it’s forms. Husband included.

This means I feel duty bound to make a lamb dish from time to time because he does many nice things for me and I’m fervently lazy so I have to find ways to not feel abject guilt at this lopsided marital discourse. Look, at least I’m aware of it and try to be nice from time to time. Ok I’ll admit it, I’m a dreadful wife to a wonderful husband (as evidenced by today where he cleaned out the old rubbish from the storage cupboard and is now sewing a broken zip while I had a nap – hey I’m pregnant – and faffed on the internet).

The long and short of it is that I sometimes cook lamb in such ways that I can hide that musty flavour with spice or chilli or juicy slow cooking so he feels loved and I feel like I can swallow it without feeling ill. I exaggerate of course. Sorta.


  • 75 gm harissa
  • 2 lemons, finely grated rind and juice only
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, cut into wedges
  • 12 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1.4 kg piece of lamb shoulder, bone in

Crushed chickpeas

  • 400 gm dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water, drained
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 75 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 lemons, finely grated rind and juice only

Cumin and parsley dressing

  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons, juice only (or to taste)
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Combine harissa, lemon rind, juice and oil in a bowl, season to taste.
  2. Scatter onion and garlic in the base of a roasting pan.
  3. Place lamb on top, skin-side up, rub with harissa mixture, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 3 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 150C.
  5. Bring lamb to room temperature, add 250ml water to pan, cover with foil
  6. Roast for 2½-3 hours
  7. Reduce heat to 120C, cook until meat falls from the bone (2½-3 hours).
  8. Rest for 10 minutes, coarsely shred.
  9. Meanwhile, for crushed chickpeas, place chickpeas in a large saucepan, add stock and 1.25 litres cold water
  10. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat, cook until very tender (45-50 minutes), do not drain.
  11. Process in a food processor until coarsely chopped
  12. Add 60ml oil, process to a coarse paste.
  13. Heat remaining oil in a separate saucepan, add onion and garlic, stir occasionally until tender (4-5 minutes)
  14. Add chickpea mixture with lemon rind and juice, season to taste and keep warm.
  15. Meanwhile, for dressing, dry-roast cumin in a small saucepan (1-2 minutes).
  16. Add oil and garlic, cook over low heat until garlic is golden and fragrant
  17. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, season to taste.
  18. Stir in parsley
  19. Serve dressing with lamb and chickpeas.

Recipe & Photo from:


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