Harira – Moroccon soup

This recipe for lamb was recommended by my good friend Sue. She claims it’s a real ‘ripsnorter’ and I have no reason to not believe her.

Harira is the traditional soup of Morocco. It’s usually eaten during dinner in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to break the fasting day.

It’s substantial enough to be a meal in itself. There are many different ways to cook it, but all versions use the same basic ingredients. This version comes from Joanne Glynn’s cookbook Slow Cooking.


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
500g lamb shoulder steaks cut into chunks
1⅟2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
⅟2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 litre beef stock
3 x 300g tins of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
30g finely chopped coriander
Coriander leaves
Small black olives toasted pitta bread


Cook onion and garlic in oil in heavy based stockpot. When soft add the meat in batches and cook over a high heat until browned all over. Return all the meat to the pan.

Add the spices and bay leaf and cook until fragrant. Add tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add stock, stir well and bring to the boil.

Add chickpeas, tomato and chopped coriander. Stir then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Season with pepper and salt, to taste.

Garnish with coriander leaves and small black olives. Serve with toasted pitta bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

Note: It is traditionally served with hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with salt and cumin, dates and other favorite dried fruits like figs and traditional honey sweets prepared at home. In Algeria they serve it with slices of lemon.

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