While we were on vacation, we went to this Amazing Moroccan restaurant. I’ve never had Moroccan style food before, and didn’t know what to expect. I thought it was just a little twist on the usual Middle Eastern Fare, what Mr. Fox would describe as comfort food. I remember that I ordered something with couscous. I have no recollection of anything else that we ate aside from the Moroccan Mint Tea and the Harira Soup.
Once we returned home, I asked my Facebook network if anyone had a recipe for Harira Soup. I got no answer except for the sound of crickets. And requests for the recipe if I ever figure it out.
Last weekend, I spent a fair amount of time with my good friend Google. Typing in random, seemingly unrelated terms until I found Painless Cooking.com that spoke, in detail, of their experience at The Marrakesh. Then they shared the recipe for the Harira soup that was served at the restaurant and was listed in the cookbook they purchased.
I gathered all the ingredients for the soup and started just after I returned from taking the ladies to school. I got the stock started, went off to make jewelry and then returned to finish up. Only then did I realize that there were no spices listed for this recipe.
Off to Google again. I wasn’t so concerned with the full recipe at this point, I wanted to know if I should add Cumin or Coriander, Fennel or Thyme, Cardamom or Garlic. I landed on the About.com page where there were 5 star reviews and many tips and tricks. This is the recipe I finally settled on. The marriage of the Painless Cooking one with the About notes on seasoning and my own tweaks.HARIRA SOUP
- 2 Gallons water (1.5 gallons of water, 1/2 gallon of lamb broth)
- ½ Pound finely chopped onion (chopped in the food processor)
- ½ Bunch finely chopped parsley (chopped in the food processor)
- ½ Cup finely chopped celery (chopped in the food processor)
- 1 Cup tomato paste
- 1 Drop yellow food coloring
- 1 Pinch of saffron
- 2 Ounces soybean oil (olive oil)
- Salt/pepper to taste
Add all ingredients in a Dutch oven and cook at a slow boil (on medium low) for 1 ½ hours. Reduce stock to ½.
Add to stock:
- ½ Small cubed lamb (I used a boneless leg that I trimmed and cubed)
- ½ Cup preboiled lentils (I just used the green/brown lentils not preboiled, and doubled it to 1 cup)
Make a roux of 2 parts flour and 1 part water to add to stock to thicken. Add more if needed. (I used corn starch and water to make it Gluten Free) Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
- ½ Uncooked rice (I used 1 cup of rice)
- ½ Cup cooked peas
- ½ to ¾ Cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (added more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger (I used 1 tsp of dried, and 5 pieces of candied ginger pieces.)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper (added more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (added more to taste)
- 1 bunch cilantro (coriander), finely chopped to yield about 1/4 cup (I didn’t have fresh cilantro, so I used 3/4 cup of dried cilantro. If you have fresh, I’d say put it in the stock at the beginning with the parsley.)
Simmer for 1 hour.
Other notes. I didn’t cook the meat ahead. I didn’t cook the rice or lentils ahead. I made substitutions as I mentioned because it is what I had on hand. I kept tasting and adjusting the seasoning until it tasted right. Once the rice and lentils had cooked, the broth tasted pretty salty, but then after it sat for a few hours the flavors married and the soup was no longer too salty.
The whole process was well worth the effort. Enjoy!