Harira – Hearty Meat Soup

Our most recent April snow storm left me dreaming of harira, a wonderful dish of Moroccan origin often eaten during Ramadan. While we desperately need the moisture, these storms are a drag on the perennial hope for spring and summer. This recipe helps to shake off the last legs of winter and welcomes the warmer temperatures.

The view near my walkway…

Harira  can be made with beef or lamb. It can have pasta noodles, rice or red lentils. Any which way, it is outstanding. I make mine with a lamb shank. This is a great recipe for a slow cooker or can even be made in a oven-proof casserole on low heat for many hours in the oven, or on top of your stove in a tagine. However you make it, it will always satisfy.

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lamb shank
2/3 cup red lentils
2/3 cup dried Garbanzo beans (soaked overnight in water)
2 cans of canned Tomatoes, Muir Glenn is an excellent choice
6  cups water
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
salt and pepper

Add a bit of olive oil to a large casserole pot. Once warm, brown the lamb shank on all sides. This takes a good 30 minutes. Remove the lamb shank from the pot and add the onions, stir up all the bits of meat that might have stuck to the bottom of the pan. You can add a little more oil if it seems dry. Now add the soaked garbanzo beans and all the water and place shank back into pot. Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat and cook for about 1 hour.

Now add the lentils, cinnamon, canned tomatoes, tomato paste and stir well. Simmer for another 15 minutes.

You can add uncooked rice at this point, or even angel hair pasta and cook for another 15 minutes or until the rice or pasta are cooked through. This makes for a very thick soup. Otherwise you can serve the rice or noodles separately and serve the soup on top.

Garnish with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro.

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