Monday Night Martha: Harira

Harira is a traditional soup in Morocco, served to break the fast during Ramadan. Soupsong, where we got this particular recipe, says it's one of the best soups in the world and we won't pick a fight with them over it.

Their recipe isn't perfect, but it's close enough to remind us of eating this soup in Rabat, many moons ago.

Harira is a bit like chili in that it's thick and chunky and you can throw just about anything in it. Ingredients vary somewhat depending on the region and who you are talking to.

The good news is that nothing needed to make harira is too expensive or difficult to find. This particular recipe serves eight people.

Although the recipe was solid, a few substitutions were in order. We ate way too much lamb during our time in Morocco in the late nineties, so we used chicken instead. And we added only cilantro - not parsley - without obvious disaster. The ingredient list also fails to mention saffron and you should definitely add some if you can.

All in all we found the soup to be savory and tangy and very close to our memory of Moroccan harira.

It was good, but not quite soupy enough, more like a stew. Consider using less celery, only one onion, or adding half as many chickpeas. The recipe also needs to be thickened, so slowly add a flour and water mixture at the end, just before you're going to serve the soup. Give yourself enough time to allow the soup to thicken, and whatever you do, don't add too much too fast.

Serve with a lemon wedge.

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Rene Gutel
Contact: Rene Gutel