- Yield: 6 Servings
- Total Time: 2 Hours 20 Minutes
- 8 dried New Mexican red chiles
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons whole almonds
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup quick-cooking whole-grain bulgur
- 1¾ cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons minced scallions
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg
- 1 garlic clove, quartered
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon mild paprika
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
How to Make It
To make the Harissa
- Stem the chiles, tear them open, and scrape out the seeds and the white membranes inside. Tear the remaining flesh into pieces, set them in a large heatproof bowl, and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak for 20 minutes. Then go wash your hands because they’ve got capsaicin on them, the hot stuff that makes eyes, lips, and other sensitive bits sting. And by the way, capsaicin isn’t water-soluble. It’s fat-soluble. So pour a little oil in your hands, then rub them around before washing them with soap and warm water.
- Drain the chiles in a colander set over a big bowl, thereby catching and reserving the soaking water. Put the chiles, oil, almonds, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds in a blender or a mini food processor. Add 3 tablespoons soaking liquid from the chiles. Blend to a slightly grainy sauce. You may need to add more of the soaking liquid to get a fairly smooth consistency—but don’t add too much or the sauce will get watery. Scrape the harissa into a glass, plastic, or stainless steel bowl (it can react with certain pottery glazes and other metals). To make the Burgers
- Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir in the bulgur, cover, and set aside off the heat for 1 hour, until the grains have sopped up all the water.
- Fluff the bulgur with a fork and scrape it into a large food processor. Add the chickpeas, scallions, parsley, lemon juice, egg, garlic, cumin, paprika, baking powder, and cayenne. Pulse until the mixture forms a thick paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Scrape down and remove the chopping blade; cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. This part is crucial. The ground bulgur must continue to hydrate until smooth.
- Use dampened hands to form the mixture into 6 smooth, flat, round patties. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in the oil and add the patties. Cook until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Flip the patties and continue cooking until browned and crisp on the other side, about 4 more minutes. If your skillet is not large enough to hold all 6 patties at once, work in batches, using half the olive oil for each batch. To serve, smear the burgers with the harissa or drizzle it over them on a platter.