Chicken Chorba

Last week, temperatures went seriously down in London and the only way we could fight the cold and warm ourselves up was with a wholesome bowl of chorba.

Chorba is a traditional berber soup that is enjoyed all across North Africa. The word chorba comes from the word shrob in Arabic, which literally means drink. This would explain why - as opposed to its friend harira - a chorba is very watery and clear. Every Moroccan family has their own chorba recipes, some include meat or fish as well as various types of root vegetables and pulses.

Today, I am sharing with you my mom’s recipe that she inherited from her mother. My grandmother’s recipe is very straightforward and doesn’t require a zillion amount of spices. It’s delicious in a very simple and earthy way. I love this soup because it triggers so many good childhood memories but also because it’s a tasty and healthy remedy against low temperatures. Enjoy!

Chicken Chorba

INGREDIENTS

Serves 6

  • 150 gr dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained (or 300 gr canned chickpeas, drained)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 1 kg chicken wings
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Generous pinch saffron threads
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, grated
  • 1 ½ tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 large white potatoes (500 gr) diced into 2 cm pieces
  • 100 gr spaghetti broken into 3 cm long pieces
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley and more for serving

METHOD

• In a large casserole, warm the olive oil over medium high heat and add the onions, the chicken, the spices, salt and pepper. Leave for 7 to 10 minutes to lightly brown the chicken and sweat the onions. Stir occasionally.

• Add the chickpeas and 1.5 litre of water to the casserole and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to medium low, cover with a lid and leave to simmer gently for 40 min.

• Transfer the grated tomatoes, tomato paste and potatoes in the casserole and increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil.

• Reduce the temperature to medium low, cover with a lid and leave to simmer gently for 15 min. By then, the chickpeas, potatoes and chicken should be fully cooked. 

• Add the broken spaghetti pieces and parsley. Leave to simmer until the spaghetti pieces are fully cooked, adjust the cooking time according to the manufacturer instructions.

• Serve warm with more parsley.

Notes

• If you forget to soak the chickpeas overnight, use 300 gr canned chickpeas (drained) and transfer them in the casserole at the same time as the potatoes. Canned chickpeas cook much faster than dried and soaked ones.

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