Sunday, 30 January 2011

Moroccan Harira

A few weeks ago, my friend Michelle mentioned in passing that she really liked the Covent Garden Soup Co's Moroccan Tagine soup, but that it was too expensive to buy on a regular basis (and, for the ingredients, it is vastly overpriced). So I invited her over for dinner with the intention of showing her how to make it. 

The Covent Garden soup is based on harira. Harira is traditionally served to end the fast of Ramadan and is cooked slowly, so as to intensify the flavours. I made a second batch later on in the week as I'd forgotten to photograph the batch I made when Michelle was over, and this time I added chicken to the soup. If you leave the chicken out, you are left with a delicious vegan soup which is pretty close to the Covent Garden soup it was based on.

Ingredients (serves 6):
1 red onion
5 cloves garlic
100g dried green lentils
50g long grain rice
250g chick peas
400g chopped tomatoes
Juice of one lemon
1 litre vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 chicken breasts (optional)
10g fresh flat leaf parsley
10g fresh coriander
1 tsp harissa paste
Salt and pepper

If you are using dried lentils, check the packet for directions - mine required an hour's pre-preparation before they were ready to use. So, to begin, prepare your lentils for use. Mine needed soaking in cold water for half an hour, rinsing, then boiling for a further 30 minutes. 

Once your lentils are ready, chop a red onion and in a large, heavy bottomed pan, sauté them in a little oil with the cumin and coriander powder. As they start to soften and turn translucent, peel and crush in the garlic. After a minute, add in the vegetable stock, lemon juice, chopped tomatoes, harissa, rice, lentils, chickpeas (I used tinned to save time) and a little salt and pepper. Stir to make sure everything is evenly distributed, cover and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.

If you're adding chicken, grill it until cooked through and then set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Then, using your hands, peel off small shreds of chicken, tearing along the grain. Once you've shredded all the chicken, add it to the soup and stir.

Finally, roughly chop the parsley and coriander and add it to the soup, reserving a little for garnish. Stir into the soup and simmer for a final 10 minutes. Serve in soup bowls, sprinkling the the remaining parsley and coriander on top. I served this with homemade spelt bread and a delicious bottle of Bordeaux.


  1. This was so delicious. I shall most definitely make this one!

  2. Mmm... just the thing in this weather!

  3. Sounds perfect for warming up a cold night. Great take on this recipe!

  4. Came to your blog via link Michelle put on her facebook. Just made this and it is YUMMY!!

  5. so glad it worked out for you! it's fast become one of my favourite soups.