Harira - Gluten and Dairy Free

Harira is a velvety and chunky Moroccan soup made usually with tomatoes, herbs, pulses and meat, but like all the classics of Moroccan cuisine, every region and every family have their own version of harira. Some regions add fish or vermicelli while others add carrots and rice. 

Harira is the most famous soup in Moroccan cuisine and the most common dish consumed during the month of Ramadan to break the fast..

The recipe I am sharing with you today is my mom’s recipe. She gave me her recipe a few years ago but thanks to the countless bowls of harira I enjoyed while I was growing up, I could practically reproduce her recipe without looking at it! It’s funny how our memory has the ability to record tastes and to reproduce them.

I choose to make a gluten and dairy free version so it can suit more of us but feel free to add vermicelli or to use butter instead of oil if you feel like it. 

Harira is definitely the perfectly healthy and earthy dish that will satisfy your body and your soul, to consume without moderation!

HARIRA

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 300 gr braising beef or lamb, boneless, trimmed of excess fat and cut in 3 cm pieces (i.e. shoulder, neck fillet, beef shin, etc) 
  • 1 small onion (100gr), finely chopped
  • 70 gr dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained (or 140 gr canned chickpeas, drained)
  • 6 large tomatoes,grated
  • 100 gr celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½  teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • Pinch saffron 
  • 80 gr green lentils
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • Lemon wedges to serve 

METHOD

• In a large casserole warm the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, the meat and the spices. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes to lightly brown the meat and sweat the onions. Stir occasionally.

• Transfer the rest of the ingredients in the casserole except the lentils, the cornflour, the coriander and the lemon wedges. Add 1 litre of water, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Leave to simmer for 60 minutes.

• At this stage, the meat and the chickpeas should be almost cooked. Add the lentils in the casserole and cover with a lid for 20 minutes. This will allow the lentils to cook and the chickpeas and the meat to finish cooking.

• When the chickpeas, the meat and the lentils are cooked, in a small bowl mix the cornflour with 3 tablespoons of water and stir until smooth. Pour the cornflour mixture in the casserole and stir. Simmer for 5 minutes until the harira thickens. Adding cornflour allows to thicken the harira in order to give it a velvety texture.

• Transfer the chopped coriander in the casserole and stir.

• Serve hot with lemon wedges. 

Notes

• If you wish to add vermicelli and/or rice to your harira, transfer each of them in the casserole at the right time throughout cooking so they will be cooked at the same time as the chickpeas and the meat. 

• Use plain regular flour if you don't have cornflour, however the recipe won't be gluten free anymore. 

• If you forget to soak your chickpeas overnight, use 140 gr canned chickpeas (drained) and transfer them in the casserole at the same time as the lentils. Canned chickpeas cook much faster than dried and soaked ones.