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I love hot stuff and this harissa is definitely HOT STUFF! In case you’re wondering, harissa is a North African chile paste usually made with roasted red peppers, serrano peppers, garlic and spices such as cumin and coriander. When I was perusing the interwebs looking for something spicy to heat up this depressing winter I came across Jamie Oliver’s rose harissa. While I do love Jamie Oliver, I don’t want my food to taste like flowers or soap. No thanks on the rose there, buddy. That being said, I do love the idea of the roasted tomatoes incorporated into the harissa paste.

IMG_2408The day I went shopping for the ingredients for this post the only hot peppers I could find were habanero peppers. Really. Not a serrano or tiny Thai pepper to be found. Anywhere. So that’s what I used. When you make this, use whatever heat level you think you and your family will like. This one is so hot that a little goes a loooooong way.IMG_2412Harissa Paste

  • 3 lbs small tomatoes, cut in half or quartered
  • 6 oz small fresh chiles, such as serrano, New Mexico, Peter Pepper, or Guajillo
  • 6-8 large garlic cloves, not peeled
  • good quality olive oil for drizzling
  • sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 T red wine vinegar or lemon juice

Preheat oven to 300˚. Place tomatoes, chiles and garlic on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Drizzle olive oil over until everything is well coated. Season with sea salt. Roast in oven about an hour or until tomatoes and chiles are slightly charred. Remove from oven and let cool. When everything has cooled, peel garlic. Scrape tomatoes, garlic and chiles into the bowl of a food processor. Whirl until smooth. Add cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and vinegar or lemon juice and blend until spices are well incorporated. Add salt to taste. If paste is too thick, add a little more olive oil while blade is running until you reach the desired consistency. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.IMG_2420Wondering what to do with your harissa now that you’ve made it? I made these and they were delicious!

Balsamic Harissa Wings

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 T – 1/3 cup harissa paste, depending on your heat level
  • 1 lb chicken wings, tips and wings split

In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, combine the sugar with the vinegar and harissa paste. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Allow the mixture to cool completely.

Place the chicken wings in a resealable plastic bag. Add 3/4 of the vinegar/harissa mixture to the wings and toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400˚. Spray a rimmed sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place the chicken wings onto the tray and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the wings half way through cooking., until they are cooked through. Remove the wings from the oven and brush with the remaining glaze. Preheat the broiler to high and place the wings under the broiler until the skin is crispy and the glaze is sticky, about 3 minutes. Serve hot.