Harira (Lentil and Chickpea Stew)
By Mick Spillane
Harira is a complex, savory lentil, and chickpea stew. It is traditionally eaten at sundown in Morocco to break the daylong fast during Ramadan.
½ cup lentils
¾ cup tomato puree (from fresh tomatoes)
1 cup onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
1 tbsp. butter
½ cup parsley, chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp. ginger, ground
¼ tsp. nutmeg, ground
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Pinch of saffron
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (sub canned, if necessary, but add at the end of cooking)
5 cups vegetable stock, plus 1 cup vegetable stock to be added later.
1 tbsp. flour
1 cup thin egg noodles or pasta, broken into small pieces
½ lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat pan over medium-high heat, melt butter, sauté onion and celery 3-4 minutes, until onion is translucent. Stir in 5 cups stock, add lentils, tomato, herbs, spices, and chickpeas (if using dry-soaked). Simmer 30 minutes, until lentils are tender. Whisk flour with remaining 1 cup stock and stir into soup until fully blended with no lumps. Raise heat to high and add pasta. Whisk egg with lemon juice and stir quickly into the soup until blended. Allow to simmer for about another 15 minutes, making sure pasta is cooked through. Serve with harissa and cilantro as garnish.
2 oz. dried Piri-Piri chilies (or a mix of dried New Mexico chilies and dried cayenne chilies)
5 cloves garlic
½ tsp. caraway, ground
½ tsp. coriander, ground
1 tsp. cumin, ground
½ tsp. salt, to taste
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Pour boiling water over chilies and soak until reconstituted and completely soft, about 20-30 minutes. Drain and remove seeds and stems. Blend chilies with garlic and olive oil in a food processor. Add salt and spices and blend to form a paste, adding a little bit more olive oil, if necessary.