Moroccan Harira Soup

La cuisine, c’est quand les choses ont le goût de ce qu’elles sont.
Fine cooking is when the things you have cooked taste as they are.
-Curnonsky

Harira is a popular Moroccan soup. The recipes for this soup vary greatly from one family to another; the recipe I have was given to me by a friend who traveled to Morocco and brought it back with him from a family he met there. The traditional soup takes considerable preparations and certain cooking techniques, however, this recipe was adapted to the western kitchen and is definitely worth taking the time to make. Believe me, this soup will tantalize your taste buds and warm your tummy, so lets get cooking!

Harira Soup:

1 lb uncooked merguez (lamb) sausages

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chipped fennel

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp hot paprika

1 tsp ground coriander

1 packet (0.13 g) saffron

2 qts unsalted chicken stock

1 cup dried chickpeas; soaked in water over night (you can used canned chickpeas if you prefer not soaking)

3/4 cup dry French green lentils

3.5 oz. roasted wheat vermicelli noodles, broken up

2 cups cilantro leaves

2 cups parsley leaves

1 bunch scallions, chopped

2 lemons, cut in 8 wedges and seeded.

salt and finely ground white pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped carrot

Method:

  • Remove susages from casings and roll them into approx 1/2 inch diameter meat balls
  • Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add meatballs and sear on all sides until brown. Remove meatballs to a plate lined with paper towels, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add the carrots, onion, fennel, and garlic to the sausage-meatball fat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8 minutes (stirring), or until onions are translucent. Add tomato and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
  • Add stock and chickpeas, season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and continue to simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add lentils and continue to cook until chickpeas and lentils are tender (about 30-45 minutes). Add the vermicelli noodles and meatballs. Continue to cook on low until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. Add half of the scallions, cilantro, and parsley leaves.
  • Divide soup among bowls and top with remaining cilantro, parsley, and scallions. Serve with lemon wedges.
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