Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Harira (lamb, chickpea and spinach soup)
200g dried chickpeas
1tsp bicarb of soda
3tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1cm dice
200g lamb neck fillet, cut into 1cm dice
2tbsp tomato puree
1tbsp caster sugar
1kg tinned chopped tomatoes
1.2 litres chicken stock or water
juice of 1 lemon
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground ginger
a pinch of saffron strands
100g baby spinach
4tbsp roughly chopped coriander
4-6 lemon wedges
salt and black pepper
Start preparing the soup the night before by putting the dried chickpeas in a large bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and covering them with plenty of cold water – it should cover the chickpeas by at least twice their height. Leave at room temperature to soak overnight.
The next day, drain the soaked chickpeas, place in a large saucepan and cover with plenty of fresh water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1-1 ½ hours, until the chickpeas are tender. Drain through a colander and leave to one side.
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and fry until soft and translucent. Increase the heat, add the diced lamb and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the lamb is sealed on all sides and has taken on a bit of colour. Add the tomato puree and sugar and mix well. Cook for 2 min, then add the chopped tomatoes, drained chickpeas, stock or water, and some salt and pepper.
Bring the soup to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Use a large spoon to skim off any scum that forms on the surface, then cook for about 35 min, until the meat is tender.
Squeeze the lemon juice into the soup. Season the soup with the ground cumin, ginger, and saffron. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
When ready to serve, bring the soup back to the boil. Wash and drain the spinach leaves, and chop them roughly. Add the spinach and coriander to the soup just before you bring it to the table.
Serve with a wedge of lemon.
One last one from Ottolenghi The Cookbook. This book is so great.
This is a lovely soup. It’s got that fresh clean taste that lemon and coriander always bring, but it is also quite hearty because of the chick peas and the lamb.
I liked that it didn’t use too much lamb. Enough that everyone had some, but not so much that it was overpowering.
The most amazing thing about this soup, was that the boys ate all of it. They loved it, even the spinach. They even asked for more.
I’d make this one again.