Harissa Spiced Lamb with Cannellini Beans

Harissa Spiced Lamb with Cannellini Beans

This rustic lamb casserole is full of flavour, especially if made ahead, and the lamb is meltingly tender. Harissa is a chilli paste with quite a kick; rose harissa, which I prefer to use, is sweeter and less fiery due to the addition of rose petals. I don’t like my food too spicy, so this dish is mild, but if you prefer it hot just add more harissa and good luck! The inclusion of the beans means you only need to serve with a green vegetable. If you omit the beans, serve with rice or couscous. A little soured cream helps to counterbalance the spiciness of the dish if you’re adding extra harissa.

For how many? Serves 6


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1kg (2lb 3oz) lamb neck fillet, trimmed and cut into small pieces
  • 2.5cm (1in) knob of fresh root ginger, finely grated
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 250ml (9fl oz) white wine
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1½ tbsp harissa paste (preferably rose)
  • finely grated rind and juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/Gas 3.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a deep, ovenproof frying pan or flameproof casserole dish. Sprinkle the cumin and coriander over the lamb pieces and fry in two batches in the hot oil for about 5 minutes or until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Pour the remaining oil into the pan, add the ginger and onions and fry over a high heat for 10 minutes until soft. Pour in the wine and boil for 2–3 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the caramelised meaty bits.

Add all the remaining ingredients, except the beans, and stir well, then return the lamb to the pan, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.

Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 1¼ hours. Stir in the beans and return to the oven to cook for 15 minutes or until the lamb is tender.

TIPS There’s no need to peel the ginger root if you just trim the ends and then grate it. The skin usually gets left behind, attached to the root, and the pulpy ginger appears on the other side of the grater. If you need to spin the lamb out for extra-hungry people, add another can of beans to make the casserole go a little further.

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