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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Midweek Harira Soup

The tanneries at Fez...smelly, smelly place!
Baby brother and I were lucky enough to spend a week in Fez about 12 years ago. It's the most fabulous city and the food is the best in Morocco. It was the first time either of us had eaten Harira soup (or briouates or b'stilla for that matter) and it was a powerful memory - a chilli hot lamb broth with tomatoes, spices, pulses and pasta.

Apparently there are endless versions of it, which of course gives you a fair bit of latitude when you come to make your own. So armed only with yesterday's lamb broth and some stuff from the larder I set out to make some.

Harira soup

Fez pottery - It'd be rude not to bring some home.
About 2 pints of lamb broth, skimmed of fat, plus the shreds of meat that came off the bone
500g carton of passata
2 cloves garlic
100g cannellini beans, soaked overnight
100g chana dal
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp vegetable stock powder
3 tsp Turkish mixed spice (a cinnamon, gingery, clovy type)
1 chili, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Large handfull of short vermicelli

Somewhat embarrassingly, I just put everything in a pot apart from the lemon and vermicelli, brought it to the boil and cooked for an hour and a bit. When the beans are tender, put the vermicelli in and when that's cooked (a few minutes), put the lemon juice in and serve.

This was gorgeous and while I know it's not that traditional (the real thing involves hours of faffing about and lots of different bowls of stuff being added at crucial moments) it's very doable on a weeknight and put me right back in the happy place - traipsing round the Mdina with baby brother, duking around the souks and riads and showing him how to haggle (for a really lovely chess set). And of course making him carry my Berber rug and about a brazillion plates all the way home.

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