Harissa spiced lamb with cannellini beans

Preparation time

less than 30 mins

Cooking time

1 to 2 hours


Serves 6

This rustic lamb casserole is full of flavour, especially if made ahead, and the lamb is meltingly tender. Harissa is a chilli paste with quite a kick; rose harissa, which I prefer to use, is sweeter and less fiery due to the addition of rose petals. I don’t like my food too spicy, so this dish is mild, but if you prefer it hot just add more harissa and good luck!

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From Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1kg/2lb 4oz lamb neck fillet, trimmed and cut into small pieces
  • 2.5cm/1in piece fresh root ginger, finely grated
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 250ml/9fl oz dry white wine
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 1½ tbsp harissa paste (preferably rose)
  • ½ lemon, juice and finely grated rind only
  • 400g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a deep, ovenproof frying pan or flameproof casserole dish. Sprinkle the cumin and coriander over the lamb pieces and fry in two batches in the hot oil for about 5 minutes or until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  3. Pour the remaining oil into the pan, add the ginger and onions and fry over a high heat for 10 minutes until soft. Pour in the wine and boil for 2–3 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the caramelised meaty bits.

  4. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the beans, and stir well, then return the lamb to the pan, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.

  5. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour 15 minutes. Stir in the beans and return to the oven to cook for 15 minutes, or until the lamb is tender.

Recipe Tips

The inclusion of the beans means you only need to serve with a green vegetable. If you omit the beans, serve with rice or couscous. If you need to spin the lamb out for extra-hungry people, add another can of beans to make the casserole go a little further.

Prepare ahead: make up to 2 days ahead as the flavours will continue to develop. This dish freezes well.

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