Harira is an authentic Moroccan soup made of tomato, lentils, and chickpeas, but it can also include meat, making it a filling and satisfying dish. Like many traditional foods, there are many variations, and recipes of this soup that are passed down from generation to generation. Some versions, as I’ve learned researching this hearty food, feature broken pieces of vermicelli and something called smen—a preserved butter with a Parmesan-like taste.
Harira ultimately hearty soup/stew like meal which makes a filling lunch or dinner. Although it can, and is, served year-round, it is particularly popular during Ramada when it is served to break the fast (iftar) at the end of the day.
Moroccan Harira Soup
- 1 lb stewing beef cut into small 1/2 inch cubes*
- 1 onion diced
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 3 carrots chopped
- 1 cups canned chickpeas
- 1 cup canned lentils
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup orzo whole wheat pasta*
- 1 can of tomato paste 5.5oz
- 8 cups of low-sodium vegetable stock *
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1-2 cups fresh spinach coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger I used fresh grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
Heat oil in a large pot on medium. Saute the onion, celery and garlic until translucent.
Add beef, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, paprika, cumin and coriander to pot and stir to toast the spices and brown the beef. Approx. 2-3 minutes. You will smell the smokey aroma and know the spices are done.
Pour in vegetable stock, carrots, chickpeas, lentils and tomato paste and stir well. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes to bring the flavours together.
Add the orzo pasta and let cook 8-10 minutes. Soup will thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste (or if you can not taste it while you are fasting, add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper and then season it to your taste at the table).
Finely chop the fresh parsley and cilantro. Save a bit for garnish. Roughly chop a handful of spinach and add to pot with the herbs. Once spinach has wilted your soup is done.
Ladle into bowls and serve with harissa* for a kick and a lemon wedge for zest. Enjoy.