Harissa recipes vary according to region. It’s thought to have originated in Tunisia and spread to the surrounding countries of Morocco, Libya and Algeria. In hotter Saharan regions, Harissa takes on a smokier quality which I enjoy and couples well with sweet potatoes.
Serve the Harissa Roasted Sweet Potato Hash for dinner along side your main course, or for breakfast- topped with soft poached eggs and flavorful Merguez Sausages. The combination of this unique sausage, harissa roasted sweet potatoes, and soft poached eggs, is a marriage made in heaven.
Merguez sausages, if new to you, are North African Sausages, traditionally made with lamb ( or beef and lamb) originating from the Middle East. They have become popular street food in France, grilled and placed in a bun with harissa, dijon mustard and sometimes fries. The sausage is often seasoned cumin and coriander, and harissa – and some are spicier that others. If you have trouble finding Merguez sausages near you ( like, sadly, I did) order them online here or here …or even try making them from scratch.
You can always leave it out if you are vegetarian, use soy chorizo, or substitute regular or spanish chorizo.
I prefer to use mostly mild to med chilies, and just one or two hot ones. Often I will add a smoked chili or two – like chipotles packed in adobo sauce for added depth, smokiness and layers of flavor. The more variety, the more dimensions to the paste.
But I encourage you to be playful. Listen to what draws you… and create your own version. Sometimes I’ll add cinnamon, smoked paprika or even a little clove, deepening on what I’m using it on. Often I’ll add fresh herbs…. like cilantro or parsley.
Bring dried chilies to a boil in a large pot of water. Turn heat off, cover and let soak for 1 hour or even overnight.
Remove the seeds and stems.
This recipe makes a cup and a half of harissa paste.
When the roasted sweet potatoes come out, they are crisp, tender and flavorful.
If you are using Merguez sausages, cut and brown them in a skillet, adding onions if you like. Toss with the Harissa Sweet potatoes, making a bed for the poached eggs.
Serve with cilantro and harissa on the side.
Hope you love this as much as I do!