This traditional Moroccan soup, often made with lamb, is usually served during Ramadan at the end of a day of fasting. This vegetarian version is finished with a dollop of harissa, a spicy North African sauce, which adds flavor and punch. Served with whole-grain bread, harira makes a great light meal. A salad of shredded carrots topped with a sprinkling of currants adds color to the meal and complements the Middle Eastern flavors.
MAKE AHEAD: Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you’re ready cook, continue with the recipe.
Works best in a large (minimum 5-quart) slow cooker
If you prefer, you can use 1 cup (250 ml) dried chickpeas, soaked, cooked and drained (see Basic Beans), instead of the canned chickpeas.
Cooking Methodslow cooking
Total Timeunder 4 hours
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Textureherby, hot & spicy, savory, spiced
Type of Dishhot soup
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) grated lemon zest
- ½ tsp ( 2 ml) cracked black peppercorns
- 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) diced tomatoes, with juice
- 4 cups (1 L) vegetable or chicken stock (store-bought or see recipes)
- 1 cup (250 ml) dried red lentils, rinsed
- 1 can (14 to 19 oz/398 to 540 ml) chickpeas, drained and rinsed (see Notes)
- ½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add celery and onions; cook, stirring, until celery is softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, turmeric, lemon zest and peppercorns; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
Stir in stock, lentils and chickpeas. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, until mixture is hot and bubbly and lentils are tender. Stir in parsley.
Ladle into bowls and pass the harissa at the table.
2008 Judith Finlayson