Sunday, 29 July 2012

Harira - Warming food for erm, July

Proper Summer food...(English summer)
Well last week was glorious and full of sunshine and barbies, but as I watch the men's beach volleyball in the rain (from the safety of my dry sofa) it's time for a reality check, and something hot and lovely for supper. Officially a soup from Morocco, harira is a divine slow cooked one pot wonder that is big on flavour, meat and pulsey goodness. It's cheap, using the thriftiest of cuts of lamb and bulked out with chickpeas and lentils, making it rather good for you (watch out for a bit of bum trumpet action later though). Make it in bulk so you have something gorgeous to call on from the freezer as you trudge home from work in the rain. In July. Again. This dish almost has me hoping for miserable weather as it's just that good. Thank you Moro cookbook, once again.

Soft and melty meat
You will need approx 350g lamb, use neck (fillet chopped up into large chunks or use neck chops) or shank. Put the meat into a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim off the manky scum which appears. Throw in a finely chopped onion, 3 finely chopped celery sticks, a pinch of saffron, 1/2 a tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1tsp ground ginger, a large bunch of coriander, chopped and 5 grates of fresh nutmeg. Give it a good season and simmer for 30 minutes. Now add 100g small green lentils and 120g cooked chickpeas (you can add more if you want to stretch the soup out a bit) and simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove the meat and shred it up, removing any nasty membrane/fat and taking everything of off the bones, if there are any. Return the meat to the pan with a decent squirt of tomato puree. Mix 3 tbsp flour with 50g water and add that along with the juice of a lemon (this gives the harira a wonderful tang). Taste for seasoning, it can take a fair bit of salt, and keep cooking until the lentils are really soft. Melt in a few knobs of butter, scatter over another bunch of chopped coriander and serve with a wedge of lemon. 

Dig in, eat way too much and laugh at The Boyfriend, who now can't move as he thought he needed cous cous with it. You don't.


  1. that last line made me laugh! Looks like a fab recipe, I'm itching to try it.

  2. Haha but it's true! Thanks for reading Milli.