Moroccan Harira Soup

This delicious fortifying soup is just what you need to get you through cooler autumn days.  As Paula Wolfert points out in The Food of Morocco, soup is usually a supper dish in Morocco, heavy and well spiced, nourishing and rich. Harira is famous as the food eaten at sundown each day during the fasting month of Ramadan, but Moroccans eat it throughout the year.


About this Recipe

Lamb forequarter chops are good value, but you need to trim them of any fat and sinew then cut the meat into cubes. If you have time, the bones can be used to make stock which can be used in the soup. For a vegetarian version of harira, omit the lamb.


Serves 6 – 8

  • trimmed lamb, 500g, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • water  (or lamb stock), 1.5 litres 
  • large red onion, 1, peeled and finely chopped
  • red lentils 1 cup, rinsed and drained
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • cooked short grain rice, 1/2 cup
  • butter, 60g (optional) 
  • freshly grated ginger, 1 tablespoon
  • ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon
  • ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
  • paprika, 1/2 teaspoon
  • chilli flakes, 1/2 teaspoon
  • saffron stamens, 1/4 teaspoon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
    To finish:
  • dried yeast, 1 tablespoon
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • freshly chopped coriander and parsley, 1/2 cup each
  • lemon wedges, for serving

Place the lamb and water or stock in a large pot. Bring to the boil, skimming off any froth which forms on the top.  Turn down heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients except for yeast mixture. Bring back to the boil and simmer gently for another 45 minutes.  Season to taste and add more water or stock if required.

To Finish Soup: dilute yeast in a little warm water. Add the tomatoes, coriander and parsley and simmer gently for 15 minutes, then add to soup.

Serve steaming hot with a little lemon juice squeezed over each serving.