Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Harira Soup

When I saw the photo of this soup, I knew it was going to be perfect for this week, as temperatures have topped out at 50 or so! I love to mix in vegetarian meals during the week, and this one, though vegetarian, has lentils and chick peas, making it hearty and healthy!
The author writes that this soup traditionally breaks the fast during Ramadan. It is traditionally served with dates and crusy bread, and though the dates sound strange, they are a delicious combo. I agree 100% with the author, I love to mix sweet and savory, so it was nice to eat some soup, which was smoky and warm, then eat a sweet date to balance the flavors.

Harira Soup
Serves 6

7 oz. dried chick peas
1/2 c. EVOO
1 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onions, diced
2 bay leaves
2 celery stalks, chopped
(I added 2 carrots, sliced)
4 c. vegetable stock (I used organic chicken)
7 oz. dried brown lentils
Pinch of saffron (omitted)
1 tbsp. paprika
1/2 red chili, finely chopped (subbed 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes)
1 tbsp. cumin
salt and pepper
2 c. water
5 tbsp. flour
Juice of 1 lemon
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
5 oz. vermicelli, broken (I used spaghetti)

Cilantro for garnish
Crusty bread

Soak the lentils and chickpeas overnight.
Heat the oil in a large pot, fry the ginger, garlic, onions, bay, celery, and carrots until onion is soft. Add 2 c. of the stock, bring to a boil. Add lentils, chick peas, saffron, paprika, chili, cumin, salt and pepper. Cover with remaining stock, bring to a boil. Simmer for 25 minutes.
In a glass bowl, mix the water and flour. Add lemon juice and tomatoes. Place over a pot of steaming water, whisking while the mixture thickens. Add parsley and cilantro. Add tomato mixture to the soup, simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add vermicelle and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Ladle into a bowl, top with cilantro, serve with bread and dates.

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