Spiced Harissa Ragù with Tahini Yogurt


With warm spices, fiery harissa and chopped pistachios, this meaty ragù from Tel Aviv chef Salah Kurdi is solidly Middle Eastern. Don't let that stop you from ladling it over gnocchi or layering it into baked pasta. 

Spiced Harissa Ragù with Tahini Yogurt
Photo: © Con Poulos
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
6 to 8


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 large onions, finely chopped

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 pound ground lamb

  • 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon harissa

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 cup whole-milk yogurt

  • 1/4 cup tahini

  • Roasted cherry tomatoes and warm pita, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Add the beef, lamb and garlic and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the 1 cup of pistachios, the harissa, cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat and pistachios are very tender, about 2 hours.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt with the tahini; season with salt and pepper. Swipe some of the yogurt into shallow bowls. Top with the ragù, garnish with pistachios and serve with roasted tomatoes and pita.

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