Chow Town

Harissa an easy way to bring spice to your steaks

Harissa Rubbed Sirloin with Grilled Corn
Harissa Rubbed Sirloin with Grilled Corn Special to The Star

Harissa is a wonderful spice for meats, beans and rice. The Tunisian blend is made from hot chiles, garlic, cumin, coriander and caraway, and can be fiery hot. Harissa can be found in Middle Eastern stores, but the best I’ve found is from Savory Spice Shop out of Denver.

For a little extra flavor, use harissa as a dry rub with 1 teaspoon of salt and let sit for 1 to 2 hours. Then brush on sirloin with olive oil.

In the following recipes, the heat from the steak paired with the sweetness from the corn is a perfect match for summer meals. Cipollini are the bulbs of the grape hyacinth and look like onions. Look for them at Italian supermarkets, farmers market and well-stocked grocery stores.

Harissa-Rubbed Sirloin Steak With Herbed Couscous, Fava Beans and Cipollini Onion

Makes 4 servings

2 teaspoons harissa spice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 pounds sirloin steak

1 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter

1 pound cipollini onions, peeled and cut into 6 pieces

1 pound fava beans, removed from pods

2 cups cooked couscous

1/4 cup chopped basil

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, mix together harissa and olive oil, and rub on the meat. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the ghee followed by the cipollini onions. Cook to caramelize the onions, about 5 minutes.

Add the fava beans and sauté them with the onions for an additional 5 minutes. Fold in the couscous and heat until warm. Add basil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Sear the steak on both sides. Move the steak to the lower heat, cover grill and continue cooking until desired temperature is reached.

Grilled Corn

Makes 4 servings

4 ears of corn, husk on

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt


1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon lime juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Heat the grill to medium. Partially shuck the corn, only removing the silks, and leaving on the husk. Rewrap the corn in its own husk and soak in water for 20-30 minutes.

Rub the corn with olive oil, salt and pepper and close the husk. Place corn on the grill and let cook for 5-7 minutes on each side or until the corn turns bright yellow. Pull back the husks and place back on the grill, caramelizing the kernels, about 2-3 minutes each side.

Mix together the parsley, garlic, butter, lime juice and sea salt. Remove corn from the grill and brush each cob with the butter mixture and serve.

Renee Kelly is the owner of Renee Kelly’s Harvest in Johnson County. Her passion lies in changing the food system, one plate at a time. Her inspiration is Mother Nature and the many growers in the Kansas City area.