7 dried red New Mexican chiles, stems and seeds removed; or substitute 5 small hot chiles like piquins
1 tablespoon ground paprika
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon cumin seeds; or substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice, preferably fresh
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground olive oil
Place the chiles in a bowl and cover them with very hot water. Allow the chiles to steep for 15 to 20 minutes to soften. Drain the chiles and discard the water.
Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a steady stream to form a thick sauce.
This sauce may be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Be sure to cover the top with a couple of drops of olive oil to prevent the harissa from turning brown.