Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Harira: soupe maghrebine traditionnelle / Traditional maghrebi soup

When we were kids, my mother used to battle with us to make us finish or even touch our bowl of soup. It wasn’t our favorite dish: too many vegetables, too hot, too tasteless. We always managed to find an excuse for not eating it.
But the only soup that we all agreed on was Harira. For us, it was a unique soup where the spices, the herbs, the vegetables and the lamb blended to form this warm, fragrant and velvety dish that awakens the senses.
This soup is widely known across Algeria and Morocco. Although the base of the recipe is the same, every region has its own variation.
Harira is especially served as a first course of Ramadan meal and in special occasions like weddings for instance.

-1 lb lamb shoulder cut in chunks
-1 tbsp vegetable oil
-1 big onion
-2 carrots
-1 potato
-1 big tomato
- ½ cup chickpeas soaked in water overnight and drained
- 6 cups water
-1 tbsp tomato paste
-A pinch of saffron
-A bunch of cilantro
-1 tsp ginger powder
-1 tsp caraway powder
- ½ cinnamon stick
- ½ tsp cubeb pepper
-1 sprig of mint
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- Salt and pepper

For the thickener:
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp lemon juice
-1 cup water

First prepare the liquid thickener by mixing the flour, the water and the lemon juice until blended. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot. Sauté the meat on all sides for few minutes. Add the onions sliced. Sauté them until they are golden brown. Add the rest of the vegetables, sliced, the tomato paste, the cilantro tied with a string and the chickpeas placed in a closed cheese cloth. Pour in a little bit of water. Add the saffron, the ginger, the cinnamon stick, the cubeb pepper and stir until blended. Cook for few minutes on medium high heat until it starts to boil. Add the rest of the water, salt and pepper and cover. Cook on medium heat for 45min or until the meat and vegetables are cooked.
Remove the meat, the cilantro, and the chickpeas and discard the cinnamon stick. Put the broth and the vegetables through the vegetable mill. Put the soup back on the stove and bring to boil. While stirring, add the caraway powder then pour slowly the thickener. Season with salt and pepper if needed and let cook for another 10min on medium-low heat. Remove from the stove then add the meat cut in small pieces, the cinnamon powder and the mint sprig. Serve while hot.

In francais please:
- 450g d’epaule d’agneau coupe en morceaux
-1 c.s d’huile de table
- 1 gros oignon
-2 carottes
-1 pomme de terre
-1 tomate
-100g de pois-chiches trempes la veille et egouttes
-1 ½ L d’eau
-1 c.s de tomate en conserve
- Une pincee de safran
-1 poignee de coriandre
-1 c.c de gingembre en poudre
-1 c.c carvi en poudre
- ½ batton de canelle
- ½ c.c cubebe en poudre
-1 branche de menthe
- ¼ c.c canelle
- Sel, poivre

Pour l’eppaississant:
-3 c.s de farine
-100ml d’eau
-1 c.c d’eau

Preparer l’eppaississant a l’avance en melangeant la farine, l’eau et le jus de citron jusqu’a l’obtention d’un mélange homogene et veloute.
Faites chauffer l’huile dans une grande cocotte et faites dorer la viande de tous les cotes. Ajouter les oignons coupes en gros morceau et les faire dorer a leur tour.
Verser le reste des legumes coupes en morceaux, la coriandre ficelee, les pois-chiches (enveloper-les dans un tissue et ficeller-le de maniere a former un petit sac ), la tomate en coserve et un peu d’eau. Ajouter le gingembre, le cubebe, le batton de canelle, le safran, le sel et le poivre. Laisser cuire sur grand feu jusqu’a ebullition. Verser le reste de l’eau et fermer. Cuire sur feu moyen pendant 45min jusq’a ce que la viande et les legumes sont cuits.
Enlever la viande, la coriandre, les pois-chiches et jeter le batton de canelle. Passer les legumes a la moulinette et remettre sur le feu. Porter a ebullition et ajouter la viande emiettee, le carvi puis l’eppaississant tout en melangeant. Assaisonner si necessaire de sel et de poivre et laisser cuire 10mn de plus. Hors du feu, melanger la canelle en poudre et la menthe. Servir chaud.


Shayne said...

this soup was wonderful, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to try it. This in one that I would be proud to serve to my family as well.


Warda said...

it was all my pleasure Shayne. Let me know how it goes if you try it.