Slow Cooker Harissa Mackerel

When I moved into my house, I found a slow cooker recipe book in one of the drawers (Slow Cooker Recipes – Hamlyn) and with it this great recipe for mackerel slow cooked with potato and harissa. The slow cooker is more traditionally associated with meat but it’s great for curries that need spices to develop over some time. I’ve made this recipe a few times now as it’s become a favourite of mine. I use smoked mackerel as it’s got such a robust flavour and because it’s so easily available but the texture of fresh fish would be perfect. I also pre-cook the potatoes because I like to have big chunks of potato and I’m not sure they would cook down enough in the pot this way. This is delicious with a dollop of sour cream.

Serves 4


  • 700g potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp harissa (I’ve used both dried spice and paste)
  • 200g punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 250g passata
  • 200ml stock (recipe calls for fish but I find that pretty tricky to find these days)
  • 4 small mackerel
  • salt and pepper


1.) Put a kettle on to boil. Peel and chop up the potatoes.

2.) Put the potatoes in a pan, pour over the boiling water and cook until soft.

3.) In the meantime, peel and chop up the onion.

4.) Heat the oil in a frying pan and start to soften the onion.

5.) Boil some more water for the stock and chop up the peppers.

6.) Add the peppers to the pan

7.) Peel and chop up the garlic.

8.) Slice the cherry tomatoes in half

9.) Add the garlic to the frying pan and cook for a minute.

10.) Make up the stock. Add the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and the harissa to the frying pan and a splash of the stock.

11.) Cook until the tomatoes start to break down.

12.) Drain the potatoes and transfer to the slow cooker.

13.) Peel the skin off the mackerel and discard. Flake up the fish and scatter over the potatoes.

14.) Add the rest of the stock to the pan with the passata and stir.

15.) Pour the tomato sauce over the fish and potatoes.

16.) Set to 3.5 hours on a low heat then serve!

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