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Harissa and White Bean Stew

Although I love all my spice blends, if I had to choose a favorite, it might be my Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend. Every time I use it I am surprised by its complexity, and I have yet to make a dish with it and think to myself, "Man, I wish I hadn't added the harissa." The recipe that follows, which I adapted from one I found in Food & Wine Magazine, is a regular in our soup rotation at home. I usually double the recipe and then freeze portions for nights when I just don't feel like cooking.

Note: This recipe also utilizes my Spicy Turmeric Blend, one of my other favorites, although you can use plain ground turmeric, as they do in the original Food & Wine recipe.

Harissa and White Bean Stew

Makes about 2 quarts


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped

  • 5-7 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend, divided

  • 3 tablespoons double concentrate tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon mild paprika

  • 1 pound dried white beans (I like Great Northern beans)

  • 2 large carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick

  • 4 thyme sprigs

  • 2 bay leaves

  • One 3-inch strip of lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons Spicy Turmeric Blend (or plain ground turmeric)

  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro, plus leaves for garnish

  • 1/2 preserved lemon, pulp discarded and rind thinly sliced


Set your Instant Pot to Saute mode. (Note: If you don't have an Instant Pot, you can start this recipe in a large skillet on the stovetop and then transfer it to a slow cooker once you're ready to add the beans.) Melt the butter and add the onion and garlic and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the Five-Chile Harissa and the tomato paste and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Stir in the cumin and paprika, and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, scraping up the fond (the browned bits on the bottom of the pan).

Turn off the Saute mode on your Instant Pot (or transfer your ingredients so far from your skillet to your slow cooker), and add the beans, carrots, thyme, bay leaves, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add another tablespoon of salt and 3 cups of water. Cover and set your Instant Pot to Pressure Cook on high for 40 minutes (or set your slow cooker to cook on high for about 6 hours). Allow your Instant Pot to release pressure naturally for about 30 minutes once the pressure cooking cycle is complete. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs from the stew. If you're going to freeze any portions, now is the time to do so.

In a small bowl, mix together the Spicy Turmeric Blend and yogurt. Season with salt.

Just before serving, stir into the stew the chopped cilantro and remaining tablespoon of harissa and season to taste with salt. Ladle into bowls and garnish with turmeric yogurt, preserved lemon and cilantro leaves.

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