January 08, 2008

If the Food & Wine test kitchen has anything to do with it, harissa will be THE ingredient many home cooks add to their pantries in 2008. Traditionally served in Tunisia and Morocco with couscous, soups and stews, the fiery chile paste has become one of our kitchen’s favorite ways to add quick flavor when roasting. Jarred versions are available at specialty shops and international markets; one of our favorites is Moulins Mahjoub from Morocco, available online from The Rogers Collection. It’s easy enough, however, to make your own from the spice rack, as Grace Parisi did for this harissa-roasted butternut squash. In our February issue, hitting stands now, Melissa Rubel rubs a luxurious crown roast of pork with her version of the paste (there are as many variations on harissa as there are grains of couscous in a bowl) and roasts it until crusty. With her leftover harissa, Melissa made these divine chicken legs roasted over chickpeas, which become delightfully chewy from the heat of the oven.

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