Homemade Harissa (Spicy Red Pepper Sauce)
De Arbol (Capsicum Annuum) means tree like in Spanish. The plant has thick, upright, woody stems and the chile itself is narrow, curved and bright red in color. Believed to be closely related to the pequin, the De Arbol is thin fleshed, with tannic, smoky, grassy flavor and searing heat. This chile has a heat range of 7.5 on the heat scale of 1-10. De Arbol Chiles are comparable to a Cayenne Pepper. Scoville heat units 15,000 to 30,000.
- 2 whole roasted red peppers seeds removed (or 6-7 roasted Bellafina peppers)*
- 2 dried ancho chilies*
- 1 dried chile de arbol*
- 2 in chipotle chiles adobo*
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 clove garlic peeled + smashed
- Juice of half a lemon
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Place the dried chiles in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over top the chiles. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes until the chiles are softened. Reserve chile water.
Once chiles are softened, cut top off the chiles and remove the seeds from inside. Add to the bowl of a food processor or blender, along with the chipotle chiles in adobo, garlic and lemon juice.
Purée, slowly pouring in the olive oil to thicken the sauce. If desired add 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved chile water to thin the sauce a bit (I did not do this). Season to taste with salt and extra lemon juice.
The Harissa will keep refrigerated for a few weeks.