Moroccan Harira Soup

Since my trip to Morocco last year, I try to make special Moroccan dishes at least once a month.

This soup is a Moroccan classic, with fragrant and delicious spices. Added lentils, vegetables and chick peas give you protein and nutrients.

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
300g/10½oz lamb or mutton (150g/5oz boneless meat, cubed and 150g/5oz ribs)
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
100g/3½oz dried chickpeas, soaked in a bowl of cold water overnight
3 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp mild curry powder
100g/3½oz lentils
big bunch fresh parsley and fresh coriander, finely chopped
400g/14oz passata (or 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes, liquidised)
1 lamb or beef stock cube
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g/3½oz vermicelli
3 litres/5¼pints water
6-7 tbsp plain flour, for thickening
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions

Put the oil, onion and meat into a large saucepan and fry until the meat changes colour.

Add the celery, carrot, drained chickpeas and all the spices, except the cinnamon. Stir well and add a few cups of wate. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer over a medium heat for 30 minutes.

Add the lentils, herbs and tomatoes, and let the mixture cook until the chickpeas are soft and the meat is tender or falling off the bone.

Add some more water to replace what has evaporated during the cooking. Add the stock cube, cinnamon and vermicelli.

In a bowl, mix the flour with a splash of water. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pan until well incorporated.

Cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Serve in a bowl with lemon wedges on the side.

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