About this recipe:My mother-in-law, who is also my Moroccan cookery teacher, gave me this Casablancan harira soup recipe. The recipe is inspired by the infamous Choumicha. The dish is very easy to make, even though it takes a long time to cook because of the chickpeas.
For the soup
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g lean lamb (or veal), cubed
3 celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced
100g green lentils
150g chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 pinches cinnamon
2 litres water
½ teaspoon dried active yeast
a little water
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 litre tomato juice
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground ginger
50g vermicelli pasta
½ bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
juice of one lemon
a few fresh figs or dates
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Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat; add onion, lamb, celery, lentils, chickpeas and cinnamon and cook for 5 minutes. Add 2 litres of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 2 to 3 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the thickening mixture by whisking flour, yeast, water and tomato paste together until smooth. Pass it through a sieve if necessary. Set aside in a warm place.
When the chickpeas are cooked, add tomato juice, salt, pepper, turmeric and ginger; stir well. Add the vermicelli pasta and cook for 10 minutes.
Reduce heat, pour the thickening mixture into the soup and whisk well. Froth will form on the surface of the soup. Let the soup thicken by simmering over low heat, whisking from time to time. When there is no more froth, the soup is ready.
Before serving, add lemon juice and sprinkle in chopped coriander. Serve with fresh dates or figs.