Top | Ottolenghi
(recipe, Caroline Cummins)
This is a variation on the traditional Moroccan harira soup, flavored in the same way but without the extra carbs that are often added in the form of rice or pasta. Traditionally a meal for breaking the Ramadan fast, this hearty dish is perfect on a cold winter's evening. You can also use canned chickpeas here (roughly 3 cups or 500 grams) instead of dried.
We dedicate the recipe to Khalid Assyb, our pastry genius, who has been tormented by our constant eating through many Ramadans.
- 1 cup (200 grams) dried chickpeas
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, cut into ⅜-inch (1-centimeter) dice
- 7 oz. (200 grams) boneless lamb rack or shoulder, cut into ⅜-inch (1-centimeter) dice
- 2 Tbsp. tomato purée
- 1 Tbsp. superfine sugar
- 2½ lb. (1 kilogram) canned tomatoes, chopped
- 5 cups (1.2 liters) chicken stock or water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 3 cups (100 grams) baby spinach leaves
- 4 Tbsp. coarsely chopped cilantro
- 4 to 6 lemon wedges
- Start preparing the soup the night before by putting the dried chickpeas in a large bowl with the baking soda and covering them with plenty of cold water — it should cover the chickpeas by at least twice their height. Leave at room temperature to soak overnight.
- The next day, drain the soaked chickpeas, place in a large saucepan, and cover with plenty of fresh water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 to 1½ hours, until the chickpeas are tender. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and fry until soft and translucent. Increase the heat, add the diced lamb, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the lamb is sealed on all sides and has taken on a bit of color. Add the tomato purée and sugar and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, drained chickpeas, stock, and some salt and pepper.
- Bring the soup to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Use a large spoon to skim off any scum that forms on the surface, then cook for about 35 minutes, until the meat is tender.
- Squeeze the lemon juice into the soup. Season the soup with the cumin, ginger, and saffron. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
- When ready to serve, bring the soup back to a boil. Wash and drain the spinach leaves and chop them coarsely. Add the spinach and cilantro to the soup just before you bring it to the table. Serve with a wedge of lemon.