How To Make Moroccan Harira Soup

How To Make Moroccan Harira Soup

Traditionally eaten to break the fast during Ramadan, this Moroccan soup also makes the perfect winter warmer.

It’s typically made with lamb, but chicken thighs or stewing beef could be used as an alternative.

As long as you remember to soak the chickpeas overnight, this soup practically makes itself. Feel free to omit the saffron.

  • Serves 6
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 9 hours (slow cooker)
  • 2 hours (stovetop)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) lamb chops, trimmed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1 cm (½ in) pieces
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • large pinch saffron threads, soaked in 1 tablespoon hot water
  • large handful each coriander (cilantro) and parsley, finely chopped, including stalks
  • 2 x 400 g (14 oz) tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) chicken stock
  • 75 g (2½ oz/½ cup) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 55 g (2 oz/¼ cup) dried green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

In the slow cooker

Put the oil, lamb chops, onion, celery, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron with its soaking liquid, the stalks from the coriander and parsley, tomatoes, stock, chickpeas, lentils and 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of water in the slow cooker.

Season with salt, then cook on low for 9 hours until the meat and pulses are tender.

Stir in the lemon juice, chopped parsley and coriander and check the seasoning.

On the stovetop

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat.

Add the lamb, season with salt and cook for 2 minutes on each side until browned. Remove and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil, onion, celery, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron with its soaking liquid and the stalks from the parsley and coriander.

Cook for 3–5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Return the meat to the pan, along with the tomatoes, stock, chickpeas and 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of water and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Add the lentils and cook for 45 minutes until the meat and pulses are tender.

Stir in the lemon juice, chopped parsley and coriander and check the seasoning.