If you are like me and have ever dreamed about traveling to Morocco, your first thoughts might be of intriguing alleyways leading to exotic markets filled with conical mounds of saffron, cumin, turmeric and paprika. Wandering a little further on there would be stalls with earthenware jars filled with olives, preserved lemons and spicy harissa. In my dreams there is the perfect café where you could have a once in a lifetime meal. It might start with Harira, A Moroccan Chickpea And Lentil Soup. It is a traditional soup that is enjoyed at wedding celebrations and during Ramadan, to break the fast. It would probably be served with dates, dried figs, nuts and even sweet little pastries.
There are many versions of this soup or stew, varying from region to region, family to family. It can be made as a vegetarian version or prepared with lamb, chicken or beef. I made the vegetarian version of the soup. I served the harira alongside grilled Merguez, a Moroccan lamb sausage heavily spiced with cumin and chili peppers.
Harira, A Moroccan Chickpea And Lentil Soup
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 carrot, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- pinch of saffron (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 3/4 c. lentils
- 1 c. cooked chickpeas (if canned, rinsed)
- 2 c. stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 c. water or additional stock
- 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. or to taste harissa (optional)
- lemon slices or wedges to serve alongside
Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat, add the onion and carrot and cook until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute. Add the spices and cook until fragrant. Add the lentils, chickpeas, stock, tomatoes and water, stir and cook until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, and harissa and simmer for a few minutes. Taste for additional seasoning. Ladle into bowls, garnish with cilantro and a lemon slice.
Harira, is a deliciously spiced and fragrant chickpea and lentil soup that will take your taste buds on that trip to exotic Morocco that you may have dreamed about. It is a versatile soup that has been influenced by the cuisines of many countries over the centuries. Whether you have the vegetarian version or add meat to the soup for a more substantial dish, it is delicious. You can add a flatbread and perhaps a salad of oranges and you will have a memorable meal.