• for the harissa paste - makes about 150ml:
  • 25 g dried large red chillies
  • 2 tblsp coriander seeds
  • 1 generous tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground paprika for the rack of lamb
  • 1 prepared rack of lamb (2–3 cutlets per person depending on their size and your appetite!)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • for the couscous
  • 100 g couscous
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 150 ml light chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tblsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 red onion (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 50 g flaked almonds, toasted
  • to serve
  • greek yoghurt (optional)


  • To make the harissa paste, split the chillies in half lengthways, remove and discard the seeds and soften the chillies in boiling water for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, dry-fry the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan on a medium to high heat for about 1 minute, tossing regularly, until the spices just begin to smoke and toast. Then grind in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle.
  • Place the garlic, salt, ground spices and the drained red chillies in a food processor and whiz to a paste, slowly adding the olive oil until well combined. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7).
  • Next, prepare the rack of lamb. Score the fat lightly in a criss-cross pattern, but without cutting through to the meat.
  • Place the lamb in a roasting tray, spread a generous tablespoon of the harissa paste over the fat and press it down onto the fat with your hands or a spoon.
  • Roast for 20 minutes for rare to medium, 25 minutes for well done for a small rack or 30–32 minutes for a larger rack. After 10 minutes, cover the rack with a sheet of tin foil to prevent the harissa paste from burning.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. Put it into a bowl, rub in the olive oil so that the grains are coated, and pour over the hot stock.
  • Stir and then put a plate or saucepan lid on top and leave to stand for 5 minutes, until the couscous has absorbed all the stock.
  • Add the parsley, mint, onion and most of the toasted flaked almonds, stir well and season.
  • Once the lamb is cooked, turn off the oven and leave the meat to rest for 5–10 minutes.
  • Carve it by cutting through the meat between the bones to give each person 2–3 cutlets (depending on the cutlet size).
  • Spoon the couscous on to warmed plates and arrange the lamb cutlets on top.
  • Scatter with the remaining toasted flaked almonds, and serve with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, if you wish.


This recipe and many more are available from Rachel's book Rachel's Food for Living published by Harper Collins