Harissa Spiced Cannon of Lamb with Fruity Cous Cous and Chargrilled Courgettes

All of a sudden the weather has changed and the nights are becoming noticably shorter. It’s not quite woolly jumpers, beef stew and roaring fires kind of weather yet, but there is no doubting that even my tastebuds are noticing the change in weather and veering towards the more comforting flavours of autumn. This is the best time of year to mix the end of the summer with the start of the autumn with your flavours when cooking in gentle preparation for the winter coming. I think that this dish delivers completely on this need.

I am using the most expensive cut of lamb for this dish – the cannon, which is akin to the fillet of beef. It is lean and does neither need or deserve too much cooking in the pan. However what is does need is a little care at the beginning. Rubbing the cannon all over with the spice mix and olive oil, covering and setting aside to marinade even for half an hour will make all the difference in this dish and ensure that the beautiful flavour of the lamb is emphasised to its best potential.

Ingredients (serves two):
A standard sized cannon of lamb
2 tbsp of harissa spice rub mix
1/2 tbsp of olive oil
Smoked Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
1 large corgette
Cous Cous – about 100g or as much as you would prefer
300ml vegetable stock (cube, gel or liquid)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp paprika
6 fresh apricots
handful of sultanas
handful of flaked almonds
handful of freshly chopped coriander
Half a slice of fresh lemon
Olive oil, salt and pepper
On a plate pour the olive oil and sprinkle the harissa spice mix and add some smoked sea salt and fresh black pepper.
Mix with your hands to form a loose paste and place the lamb onto the plate and rub the mix all over, including the ends generously.
Keep the lamb on the plate and wrap the whole thing in clingfilm and leave to marinade at room temperature for 30 mins.
Put the oven on to max heat or 220 degs celsius.

Boil the kettle and add boiling water to the vegetable stock.
Place cous cous into a heatproof bowl and sprinkle over the ground cumin, coriander, paprika, and black pepper and ix with your hands.
Add in the sultana’s.
Pour the water over the cous cous, cover the bowl with a plate and leave to soak and expand.

When the meat has marinaded and the oven is coming up to temperature, place a griddle pan onto a high heat on the hob.
Wait until the pan starts to smoke, then place the cannon of lamb into the pan.
Cook the lamb only for a minute or two each side enough to seal the meat and to give it some colour being careful not to burn it. Remember to sear the ends of the cannon too.
As you turn the meat, baste it with the remainder of the olive oil and harissa spice mix.
When ready, place the meat onto a baking tray and put it in the hot oven for about 10 minutes for a medium rare finish. If you like your lamb rare, don’t put it in the oven but rest out of the griddle pan and then slice when ready. If you like your lamb well done, leave it in for 15 minutes absolute maximum. Remember this is like a fillet with no fat on it except for the olive oil so can easily dry out.

Return to your cous cous. Taste the cous cous and adjust the seasoning as required. I usually add in a bit more paprika, cumin and at this stage add the salt to adjust. Don’t oversalt as there is salt in the vegetable stock.
Add the almonds, the spritz of lemon juice and the coriander. Stir thoroughly to combine.
Meanwhile, take the lamb out of the oven and place on a chopping board. Cover with foil and leave it to rest while you cook the courgettes.

Take your courgette, top and tail it, slice in half acrossways. Take each half and slice it into four so you have eight thin slices.
Lightly cover with some olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.
Reheat the griddle pan used for the lamb keeping all the meat juices in the pan.
When ready, place the courgette pieces into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes each side until softened and charred.

When everything is ready, warm two plates and spoon out the cous cous.
Slice the lamb diagonally and place on the plate.
Finally, plate up the courgette slices.
Drizzle over any remaining lamb juices from the chopping board whilst it was resting and garnish with a final sprinkling of coriander.
Serve immediately and…..Enjoy!

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