Harissa, tomatoes, lentils, yoghurt… These are ingredients that fill me with excitement whenever we decide to cook with them. Simple, cheap, unpretentious, they shine if you give them a chance.
This recipe is adapted from a wonderful book by Diana Henry called Crazy water, pickled lemons – grab it if you see a copy, its very exciting.
The harissa recipe I’ve used here isn’t spicy at all, but feel free to beef it up if you like a bit more oomph.
Roast harissa tomatoes and lentil pilau
- 8 very ripe tomatoes
- Harissa paste (recipe above)
- Brown sugar (or white, if you don't have)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- a splash Balsamic vinegar
- 6 medium Courgettes (optional)
Lentil and rice pilau
- 1/2 cup brown lentils
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups (or so) stock (can also use miso paste and water)
- 2 sprigs mint, leaves removed and chopped.
- A big bunch of spinach leaves, washed and chopped
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- Thick yoghurt
- Preheat your oven to 200C.Halve the tomatoes, place them face up on a baking tray, and smear each tomato face with harissa. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, sugar, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the tomatoes are totally soft, caramelised and hinting on burning on the edges. If using baby marrows/courgettes, give them the same treatment but pull them out 15-20 mins earlier - they burn quicker than the tomatoes.
- Mix the rice and lentils together, add double the volume of stock or water, and cook in the microwave or stovetop until almost (but not quite) done. If using a quick cooking grain such as couscous or bulgar wheat, you can skip this step.
- Fry the onions with the cinnamon until soft and starting to colour. Add the garlic, mint and spinach, cook until the spinach has wilted. Add the lentils and rice, and continue to add stock as the liquid gets absorbed, until the grains have cooked. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice and set aside.
- Arrange the pilau in a big salad bowl or serving platter, arrange the tomatoes and put a few dollops of yoghurt on top, followed by a final glug of olive oil.