(North African lamb and chickpea stew)
6 to 8 servings
- Olive oil or butter -- 1/4 cup
- Lamb, cubed for stews -- 1 pound
- Onion, chopped -- 1 large
- Celery, chopped -- 2 stalks
- Turmeric -- 1 teaspoon
- Cinnamon -- 1 teaspoon
- Ground ginger -- 1/2 teaspoon
- Nutmeg -- 1/4 teaspoon
- Saffron -- big pinch
- Tomatoes, chopped -- 2 cups
- Water or stock -- 2 quarts
- Chickpeas, cooked and drained -- 2 cups
- Lentils -- 1/2 cup
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Cilantro, chopped -- 1/2 cup
- Parsley, chopped -- 1/2 cup
- Lemons, cut into wedges -- 2
- Heat the oil or butter in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the lamb and brown on all sides. Remove the meat to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the onions and celery. Sauté until the onions are translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the spices and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. Finally pour in the stock and return the meat to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas, lentils, salt and pepper and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the lentils cooked through and tender.
- Adjust seasoning, stir in the cilantro and parsley and serve with lemon wedges for each diner to squeeze into their stew as desired.
- Tedouira as a Thickener: Harira is traditionally thickened with a type of sourdough starter called a tedouira. Water, flour, tomato paste and herbs are mixed together and sometimes left to ferment overnight. This mixture is then stirred into simmering soups and stews to give them a velvety consistency. To make your own tedouira, whisk 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup of tomato paste together until smooth. Whisk into the simmering stew after the lentils have simmered for about 15 minutes and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes to thicken the harira.
- Meats: Substitute cubed chicken or beef for the lamb. Or eliminate the meat altogether for a delicious vegetarian version.
- Sometimes 2 or 3 beaten eggs are stirred into the stew at the end to make ribbons of egg in the broth.
- Add 1 cup soup pasta toward the end. Or add 1 cup of rice along with the lentils. You may need to add a little more water.
- Moroccans remove the skins from the chickpeas before adding them to the stew. You are forgiven if you forgo this step.