Harira

Another example of the huge range of meat and bean stews that are traditional and popular dishes from Morocco through the Middle East to the Caspian Sea and beyond. Harira has its origins in the Maghreb, a term with several meanings but here used in its old sense of that land between the Atlas Mountains and the Mediterranean. Using onions, celery, chickpeas and lentils, it is easy to imagine this tasty stew being cooked over a Berber campfire from local meat and vegetables and flavoured with carefully stored exotic spices. Traditionally, this dish can be served as a stew or diluted with stock to make a soup.

Ingredients.

¼ cup Olive oil

2 onions, chopped.

1 stick Celery, chopped.

2 tsp Turmeric

2 tsp ground ginger.

1 tsp cinnamon.

Dash cayenne.

½ tsp Nutmeg.

Salt to taste

1kg diced lamb.

2x400g cans diced tomatoes.

1 cup dried chickpeas.

1 cup hot water.

1 cup lentils.

½ cup coriander greens.

½ cup chopped parsley.

Juice and zest of one lemon.

Method

Heat the oil in a sauté pan and stir fry the onion and celery until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the spices and salt and stir through. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, adding a little water to prevent sticking. Add the meat and stir through until well coated with the spice mix then add the tomatoes and chick peas.

Stir, bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 1 ¾ hours or until the meat is done, stirring from time to time. Add the hot water and the lentils, bring back to the boil and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Cover and remove from the heat. Leave to stand for an hour to allow the flavours to combine.

Very gently reheat the stew, stirring through the herbs, lemon zest and juice. Serve with crusty bread and a salad.

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