Monday, 18 October 2010

Traditional Morocco: Harira

I read a recipe in The Times two weeks ago on how to make the tradtional soup of Morocco, Harira.  I've already cooked it twice and, let me tell you, it is fantastic!  Harira is quick to prepare, but takes about two hours to cook so you may wanna save it for a Saturday or a day when you're working from home.

Something between a soup and a stew, Harira is tasty and well, just plain comforting.  It is like stepping onto a heated floor after a steaming hot shower and tucking into a big fluffy bath robe.  

To feed 4 people:
olive oil
2 peeled and chopped onions
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 can of tomatoes
2 cans of chick peas
70g of brown lentils
tomato paste
ground cumin
1 bay leaf 
400g-500g of lamb shoulder
1 litre of beef stock 
salt and pepper

1. Cut the lamb shoulder into bite-sized pieces.

2. Heat some olive oil in a big pot.  Add the onions and garlic.  Fry for a few minutes.  Add 2 tablespoonfuls of paprika and 2 tablespoonfuls of cumin. Add the lamb and fry for another minute

3. Add the canned tomatoes, the bay leaf, 3 tablespoonfuls of tomato paste and the beef stock.  Bring to a the boil before turning down the heat and letting it simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on.

4. Rinse the lentils under cold water and drain the chick peas.  Add both and cook for another 45 minutes to an hour.  

5. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. 

You can eat this hearty dish on its own, with bread or perhaps with a bit of rice if you are really hungry. It is traditionally served with lemon wedges - haven't tried, but I can see why that would work. 

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