06 April 2011

Harira: Moroccan Soup

Harira is a typical soup in Morocco, so I made this soup recently in honor of my trip last Christmas and it definitely reminded me of a lot of the food we ate there. This particular recipe is from Emeril, found on FoodNetwork.com. See the original here.

I had never cooked with lentils before, so that was my new ingredient. In fact, before this I'd only tried a dish with chickpeas once before, so there was a lot "new" for me in this soup. I skipped the chicken, as there was plenty of protein in the soup already, and the version I had on my vacation had no meat. Also, most of what I read said that if adding meat, lamb or beef are more traditional, so you could try that instead if you'd like. I don't think I used quite as much stock as it called for and I threw in extra beans and rice because it didn't look like much. In the end, they plumped up, absorbed practically all the liquids, and I would be hard pressed to call it a soup anymore. When I make this again, I will pay more attention to the measurements and maybe add extra stock just in case.

All in all, I thought it was excellent! Obviously if you're not into bean based soups it might not be your thing. Sorry about the long ingredient list (especially after Joanna's post below), but it's mostly different spices. I measured out each one and then later thought I should've just used the "45 spices" mix I bought at the market. Next time!

Harira: Moroccan Chickpea Stew with Chicken and Lentils


  • 1/4 pound dried chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 1/2 quarts rich chicken stock
  • 1/4 pound dried green lentils
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnishing


Pick over the chickpeas, cover with cold water, and soak overnight at room temperature. Drain chickpeas and rinse well with cold running water. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a medium stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken in batches, and cook until well browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Add the onions and celery and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes and their juices, stirring well. Stir in the chicken stock, lentils, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer for 1 hour.
Add the rice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and return the soup to a simmer. Cook covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, add the cilantro, parsley, and lemon juice and cook, uncovered for 5 minutes.
Ladle into warmed soup bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs.


Marie said...

Oh! I love spices! I noticed the dried chickpeas at Whole Foods the other day and thought it would be interesting to try them since I've only eaten the canned kind. And besides that I only have to get celery and cilantro. I've got everything else on hand!

Joanna said...

Leah! How cool!! I can't wait to try it!

Kainoa said...

Sounds delicious! Can't wait to try this!