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Cacao, Roasted Pepper
And Chilli Harissa

Prep Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes

I love chillies, but I don’t like them so hot that I cannot taste anything else. So I’ve added roasted sweet red pepper to this sauce to balance the heat of the chillies.

However, it is always hard to judge how hot chillies will be, as they vary so much. You can reduce the heat of the chillies in this recipe by deseeding about a third of them before using or, if you want the sauce quite mild, halve the amount used.

This is a must with your breakfast eggs,  a great accompaniment to oily fish, lamb and pork, including sausages. You could also serve it with a Moroccan tagine.


16 long red chillies 

4 large red peppers 

1 teaspoon cumin seeds 

150ml extra-virgin olive oil 

10g 100% cacao. Willie suggests Madagascan Sambirano 100% cacao 

1 tbsp Cacao Nib Balsamic Vinegar , or good quality balsamic vinegar 



Baking tray
Frying pan



Preheat an oven to 250°C. 

Wrap the chillies in a double layer of foil and place on a baking tray. Put the red peppers alongside them, but not in foil, on the same tray. 

Roast the hot oven for about 25 minutes, or until the peppers are slightly blackened and soft. Allow to cool slightly, then peel and deseed the red peppers. 

Remove the chillies from the foil, but leave whole, just removing any stalks. Put both the chillies and peppers in a blender or food processor and whiz to make a rough purée (don’t overwork; leave a little texture). Set on one side.

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan until they smell fragrant. Tip them into a pestle and mortar and crush them to a coarse powder. Place the puréed peppers and chillies in a large saucepan add the powdered cumin.

Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium heat, lower the heat and simmer gently until the sauce has reduced by about a half.  

Remove from the heat, add the olive oil, cacao, balsamic vinegar and salt to taste and stir until well combined. Spoon the hot harissa into warm sterilized jars, allow to cool slightly, then seal. This sauce should keep for at least 3 months in a cool place.

I eat this every morning on my avocado and fried duck eggs with a heavy grating of 100% cacao. This is one of the truly great things in life!

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