A little bit of spice and heat in our food does wonders for a blue mood brought on by dreary weather. Marinaded meats become super tender when allowed to sit and bathe for a bit, and a post work dinner becomes a much brighter prospect when you’ve done the (small amount) of work the night or morning before.

These spiced up harissa and yogurt lamb kebabs are healthy too as they are oven baked. The harissa heat is soothed a notch by the creamy yogurt, with the tomato puree adding a little sweetness and fruitiness.

Harissa is a delicious North African spice paste. It is very easy to make, and I often do. The blends vary but the core of it is chilli heat with spices like coriander. It’s quite easy to source too, although if you do, do try and find the Le Phare du Cap Bon brand available in little yellow tins and tubes. It is the best that I have tried, and I always have some in my cupboard for speedy suppers. You can get it in ethnic food shops and also on specialist websites like The Good Fork.

I like to use lamb with this marinade although it would work really well with chicken or beef too, so use your personal preference. Diced lamb steak from the leg works well, and will cook a little quicker than the lamb neck that I prefer to use here, only because you don’t want to overcook it so that it gets tough – there is less fat to protect it you see. Neck is a full flavoured often overlooked cut, and it has little streaks of fat through which really boost the flavour and also keep it moist. Do use your preferred cut though.

I like to serve these with a light couscous with cooling cucumber and mint, and some fruity red pepper. I dress it simply with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Make extra – leftovers make great lunch and the cooked meat is great in a pita sandwich the next day.

Note: Cheaper tomato purees can be bitter, if yours is a little bitter add a little sugar to the marinade and that should help. It’s easier to invest in a better puree though.

Get the recipe on iVillage: Healthy harissa & yogurt lamb kebabs with cous cous | iVillage UK

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Niamh

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