Against the Grain

Published by William Morrow

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Harira—Moroccan lamb, lentil, and chickpea soup with aromatic spices—is one of my all-time favorite Mediterranean dishes. Even though the legumes put it on the higher end of the spectrum of allowed carbs, I’ve opted to include it.

8 servings

Cooking Methodstewing


Total Timeunder 4 hours

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Textureherby, meaty, spiced

Type of Dishhot soup, soup


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, with leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ to 1 scant teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes, with their juices
  • Salt
  • ½ cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • One 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 to 4-tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste


  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large, wide pot over low heat, add the lamb, onion, celery, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, and saffron and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes, until lamb browns lightly.

  2. Add the tomatoes. Raise the heat, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season with salt.

  3. Add the lentils to the pot along with 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1½ hours until the lamb is very tender. Add the chickpeas, parsley, and cilantro and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, until the chickpeas are warmed through. Add the lemon juice and serve.


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@ssbill, you're absolutely right. Apologies for the error. We try our best to avoid typos, but we're a small team and do depend on users like you to point them out when you see them! Really appreciate your help! All best, Kara Rota Editorial Director

I think there is a mistake in the ingredients list. It should be 1/2 spoon of saffron. 12 teaspoons would lead to bankruptcy. Not necessary, anyway, since it's primary purpose is to add color. Not enough to add flavor.


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