06/10/2011

Rose Harissa Roasted Butternut Squash

Harissa is a Tunisian spice paste made from a blend of chillis, garlic, herbs and other spices.

Rose Harissa is a gourmet paste that has the inclusion of rose petals, giving a deep colour as well as offsetting the unnecessary burn of the chilli.

The result? One seriously flavoursome paste which retains a good kick!

There are a number of recipes that you could follow to make your own Harissa, but they're all pretty much grinding down chillis, garlic, herbs and spices down in a pestle and mortar, adding in rose petals, grinding some more and softening it all up with oil.

I buy mine. I like the Belazu brand: "Rose petals are one of over forty spices added to give this paste its unique aroma and complex, yet unmistakably spicy, taste. Harissa was originally a staple of Tunisian cooking but is used throughout North Africa as a seasoning or condiment. It has a hot kick to it but the rose petals in the sauce provide a unique balance to the chilli heat."

Harissa can be spread over meat and roasted, added to soups and stews, spread over flat bread, the options almost limitless.

Here, I'm roasting some butternut squash ...

Peel and cut the squash into good sized pieces and place in a bowl. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over and add a good tablespoon of Rose Harissa. Stir well to ensure the squash pieces are covered.

Transfer to an overproof dish and roast at 150C for 30-40 minutes.

The squash should be cooked through but not soggy. The taste? Sweet, sour, hot and gorgeous throughout!

Serve with complimentary foods, such as slow cooked lamb, mutton or goat, strong green vegetables, bitter leaves and soft feta cheese.

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