My family can never have enough soup – especially now that we have entered the dreary, damp, chilly season. I have many soups that I go back to again and again, but it is always fun to find a new one. This soup comes from The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur. This is no “first-course” soup, but an entire meal in a bowl. As with most Moroccan food, it is well-seasoned, but each person gets to control the amount of heat by adding harissa or filfel chuma to his own bowl when it is served. I’m serving mine with some garlic naan, but pita or even a really good homemade white bread or challah will do.
Harira – Moroccan Chickpea and Lamb Soup from The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur and tweaked by me
Yield: 10-12 servings
1/4 cup EVOO
1.5 pounds of lean, boneless lamb stew meat cut into 1-2 inch pieces
3 medium onions, peeled and chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or finely minced
1 cup of dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or longer) and drained
1 cup brown lentils
Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper OR Aleppo pepper (Don’t be stingy – it’s a big pot of soup!)
1.5 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
Scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
About 1 pound of tomatoes, cut into small dice (You could use a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes if there are no decent tomatoes available or if you don’t want to be bothered with chopping them)
About 10-12 cups of chicken stock or water (I use stock)
12 chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup rice (I used brown Bismati, but keep in mind that if you use white rice it doesn’t take as long to cook.) I like to soak my rice in cold water for about 15-20 minutes and then drain it to remove additional unwanted starch.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
Harissa or Filfel Chuma (Harissa is pretty easily accessible in grocery stores these days and either red or green will do. I have linked to recipes for both Harissa and Filfel Chuma should you wish to make your own. There are endless variations of both so feel free to experiment.
- Depending on how old your dried chickpeas are, you should soak them at least overnight or longer. If longer, I would refrigerate them after about 8 hours, changing the water once. Drain them before using. See Note.
- Heat the oil in a heavy pan (I love cast iron for this) and brown the lamb pieces. Transfer the browned lamb chunks to a large soup pot or Dutch oven.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the chicken and rice. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover tightly, cooking for 90 minutes.
- Add the chicken and drained rice and cook for between 30-50 more minutes, depending on the type of rice used. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- When ready to serve, garnish with the lemon juice and parsley or cilantro. Allow each person to add the Harissa or Filfel Chuma. Serve with bread.
NOTE: If you are in a hurry or forgot to soak your chickpeas (or are simply lazy!) you could use canned. However, I would not add them until I add the chicken drumsticks and the rice. I would use 2 drained and rinsed 15 ounce cans or its equivalent.