Harira Style Soup

12 Jul

You know when you buy a new cookbook and it´s full of lovely recipes, but the reality is you probably won´t cook that many of them and feel a bit let down? Mmm, yes, we´ve probably all been there. Well, not so with my new Ottolenghi book. In fact, I had intended to leave it in the UK to use when we return in a few weeks to start work on the house renovation. But it kept whispering to me, “take me with you, take me with you”, so back to Spain it came and I have been cooking from it already with plans for many more dishes.

First up was Harira, a Moroccan soup made with chickpeas and lamb. Yes, I´m trying to clear out my freezer a little before we leave, so out came a piece of lamb.  And you know how we love our chickpeas in Andalucía…it was meant to be. Of course, I made a few changes but I am sure Mr O won´t mind.

It´s not quite like other Harira soups I´ve made, but I was very pleased with the results. I think it would also be a very good vegetarian soup if you leave out the meat and use vegetable stock or water. I have also made this soup with rice and lentils also included.  This is a lovely recipe too from Robert Carrier.

Ingredients to serve 4-6

  • 200g dried chickpeas soaked overnight in water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda (I don´t know the quantities for using ready cooked, canned but I would imagine it would be at least double the weight)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 200g lamb fillet cut into 1cm dice (I used a piece of neck fillet on the bone which I cooked whole then pulled the cooked meat off and stirred into the soup
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp sugar (I used 1 tsp)
  • 1kg tinned chopped tomatoes (I used about half this amount of my own tomatoes)
  • 1.2 litres of chicken stock or water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • A pinch of Saffron strands (I used a teaspoon of turmeric)
  • I also added 1 tsp each of cinnamon and hot chili powder
  • 100g baby spinach (I used chopped chard from the veggie garden)
  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander (didn´t have any, so omitted)
  • 4-6 lemon wedges
  • Salt and Pepper


Cook the chickpeas in plenty of water until completely tender (about an hour or an hour and a half), drain and reserve.

In a large saucepan over a medium heat, gently fry the onion until translucent. Increase the heat and add the lamb and fry until sealed.

At this point I added the spices (Mr O does this later in his version). Now add the tomato purée, and sugar, cook for a couple of minutes then add the chopped tomato, drained chickpeas, liquid and a little seasoning.

Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 35-45 minutes until the meat is tender. Squeeze in a little lemon juice (I didn´t add it all at this stage as per the recipe) and this is where Mr O adds his spices.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. Just before serving, bring the soup back to the boil and add the finely chopped spinach (chard in my case) then remove from the heat. Serve with lemon wedges.

Very delicious, I may even spice it up a little more next time. And yes, the book will be coming with me again to the UK….it likes to travel.


70 Responses to “Harira Style Soup”

  1. thecompletecookbook July 12, 2012 at 15:53 #

    What a perfect post Tanya! We are having a really cold spell here at the moment so this beautiful vibrant and hearty soup is just what I need.
    🙂 Mandy

    • Chica Andaluza July 12, 2012 at 21:04 #

      I know it´s too hot here for soups like this, but I´m an advocate of hot food cooling you down! (and warming you up of course)

  2. kate July 12, 2012 at 15:59 #

    This soup sounds delicious! It’s way too hot here to even think about making soup, but I’ll have to remember this recipe in the fall!

    • Chica Andaluza July 12, 2012 at 21:05 #

      I know, it´s in the 30s here so very hot, but I am a mad English woman!

  3. Mad Dog July 12, 2012 at 16:29 #

    I was just about to look for some leftover lamb plus pea or bean recipes and you posted before I had time to look 😉

    • Chica Andaluza July 12, 2012 at 21:05 #

      Aha – great minds and all that!

      • Mad Dog July 12, 2012 at 21:39 #

        Mine’s similar but different and bubbling away on the stove now -tasting very good 😉

      • Chica Andaluza July 12, 2012 at 21:51 #

        ¡Buen provecho!

  4. Jane's sew & tell July 12, 2012 at 16:30 #

    I love Ottolenghi! Have you tried the broccoli and chilli salad?

  5. chaiselongue1 July 12, 2012 at 17:03 #

    This looks wonderful – very Moroccan, which isn’t far from you! I haven’t tried this one from his book, but I’m sure that, like you, I’ll make a few alterations to fit local conditions when I do….it’s very difficult to find coriander leaves here, except occasionally in tiny plastic-wrapped bunches. It’s something I’ve always failed to grow too. One thing I miss from when I lived in Oxford many years ago is the huge bunches of it sold in the Indian shops!

    • Chica Andaluza July 12, 2012 at 21:08 #

      Yes, Morocco isn´t so far -in fact we went last year just to Tangier (which I know is more European than Moroccan) and we had a wonderful time. I too used to be able to buy huge bunches of coriander in the Indian shops in Tooting…I miss them! Coriander doesn´t do well here either, it seems to bolt then dry up.

  6. Roger Stowell July 12, 2012 at 17:10 #

    Fabulous recipe – wonderful Moroccan flavours. I think I’m going to have to get Ottolenghi or I’m going to be one of the only cooks without it.

    • Chica Andaluza July 12, 2012 at 21:09 #

      I really can recommend the book I have, so many great recipes. I now have my eye on the other book “Perfect” and I think there´s another one coming out in October….oh dear, more spending 😉

  7. cookinginsens July 12, 2012 at 18:07 #

    You make such wonderful soups. Lamb, yes!

    • Chica Andaluza July 12, 2012 at 21:10 #

      We´re big fans of anything you can eat with just a spoon here in Andalucía! Really enjoyed this one 🙂

  8. TheDorsetFinca July 12, 2012 at 21:07 #

    This looks so wholesome. I wish I could have some right now to warm me up with all the cold rain lashing down outside! x

    • Chica Andaluza July 12, 2012 at 21:49 #

      I will have to pack the boot of the car with sunshine methinks!

  9. ChgoJohn July 12, 2012 at 23:18 #

    I’m not at all familiar with this soup, Tanya, but I sure wish I was. I don’t think I’ve ever had a lamb-based broth and that sounds delicious. Even so, Like you said, I bet this would make a great vegetarian soup, as well. With these ingredients, you really can’t go wrong. This cookbook sounds like it was a really good buy.
    And, by the way, that was me whispering, “take me with you, take me with you”. Do you really think an Ottolenghi cookbook would speak with an American accent? 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza July 13, 2012 at 08:32 #

      Hee hee, I thought it was a Chicago accent I could hear when I was expecting an Israeli one! If you ever get a chance, do make this (with or without lamb…but I think I´d use chicken stock as I´m not a veggie), it´s lovely 🙂

  10. Margarita July 12, 2012 at 23:34 #

    I love this soup! Deborah Madison has a lovely vegetarian version of it in her Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone book that I’ve enjoyed very much. Thanks for reminding me to make it again! 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza July 13, 2012 at 08:32 #

      Have just looked up Deboarh Madison and now I want that book too!

      • Margarita July 13, 2012 at 12:33 #

        It’s a great book and has been my “go-to” vegetarian inspiration for over a decade. I once wrote Deborah Madison asking for a recipe of hers that was not in the book but had been published in the NY Times many years ago. She wrote back saying, essentially, not to sweat the details and to create something equally delicious from memory, because she didn’t remember the recipe either! Happy cooking!

  11. Lilianne July 13, 2012 at 00:23 #

    I just recently found your blog and love it! Your recipes look so tasty and I can’t wait to try some of them out. I just recently bought a property in beautiful Andalucia, too, but for now it is just a “getaway” home. I do hope you publish your book to tell your story because I was reading your first few entries and am left wondering: well? what happened next!!

    • Chica Andaluza July 13, 2012 at 08:43 #

      Hi Lilianne and welcome! Glad you liked the recipes you´ve seen. Where have you bought your getaway home? How exciting! And yes, fingers crossed with the book, will keep you posted….the story did continue 🙂

      • MySpanishAdventures July 13, 2012 at 13:33 #

        We bought just outside of Arboleas and we are just tickled pink! Where are you? I’ve been trying to chronicle the whole tale through a blog as well because friends and family are always asking “what’s the latest?” and I thought a blog would be a good way to keep them posted. Getting it set up and organized has been fun yet challenging… all the widgets and plugins make my head spin… haha!
        Yes, do keep me posted on the book. I’ve heard some people having luck self publishing on Kindle, maybe that would be something to look into 🙂

      • Chica Andaluza July 13, 2012 at 14:14 #

        Aha – you´re near Almeria. We´re in the north of Malaga province just before the Granada frontier so a few hours form you. Fingers crossed, am working with a publisher right now! Good luck with the blog and settling in – happy to help if I can.

  12. DianeT July 13, 2012 at 01:06 #

    Perfect timing for our cold winter days. And I pretty much have all the ingredients at hand. I’ve just started making more recipes that include cumin; a spice I’ve not been familiar with before. I love it now.

    • Chica Andaluza July 13, 2012 at 08:38 #

      Cumin is so good for you – I think it´s a natural antiseptic too. My mum got me hooked on it! Take care Diane x

  13. andylmoore July 13, 2012 at 01:31 #

    I’ve been looking for a hearty, tasty soup. I’m going to give this a try. Thank you!

  14. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide July 13, 2012 at 02:14 #

    Looks great no matter the season!

    • Chica Andaluza July 13, 2012 at 08:39 #

      I know, I think you´d suffer a bit trying to eat it where you are right now, but when it cools down a little….

  15. fati's recipes July 13, 2012 at 05:57 #

    From the blog post title, I had a feeling there was something a bit Arab coming up. I’m not very familiar with Moroccan cuisine, but this looks really pleasant 🙂 All the best with your up coming adventure 😉

    • Chica Andaluza July 13, 2012 at 08:40 #

      Thanks Fati! Although this is not an Andalucían dish, much of our cooking here has a very strong Arab influence with the spices and flavours. Fusion I think it´s called now to be trendy!

  16. Tandy July 13, 2012 at 10:46 #

    We are having a cold spell right now, so that would go down a treat! Have fun emptying out the freezer 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza July 13, 2012 at 11:55 #

      Although I keep pretty good track of what I have in the freezer, there are always a few surprises 🙂

  17. Val July 13, 2012 at 10:50 #

    This looks and sound delicious, Tanya! I love the colour, it reminds me of a Tuscan Bean Soup from the Avoca Cook Book… but spicier and meatier!

  18. yummychunklet July 13, 2012 at 14:41 #

    How delicious! I love all the ingredients in that soup.

  19. gardenfreshtomatoes July 13, 2012 at 14:45 #

    Never count a cookbook out…some sit on the shelf for years, then suddenly become a favorite!
    That soup sounds amazing…we’ll keep it in mind for when the cooler weather arrives. Hot soup would be a hard sell around here right now 😀

    • Chica Andaluza July 13, 2012 at 15:32 #

      It´s true – I had a tidy up a couple of months ago of my books and rediscovered some old favourites!

  20. Spree July 13, 2012 at 15:47 #

    Ottolenghi’s book whispered at me too Tanya until I had to bring it home. It’s luscious isn’t it? (I also have his book that’s vegetarian dishes too and love it.) this soup is so pretty and so chock full of good ingredients I’ve got to try it (but no lamb here.)

    • Chica Andaluza July 14, 2012 at 10:40 #

      Ooh – you have the book that I want to buy next, I hear it´s wonderful. Glad you heard that whispering too – I´m not going mad then!

  21. Karista July 13, 2012 at 17:40 #

    Looks so delicious Chica! I think I’d love this vegetarian too. Now you’ve peaked my interest, I’ll have to look up the author of this cookbook. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza July 14, 2012 at 10:39 #

      I think with or without neat, this is a good recipe!

  22. bitsandbreadcrumbs July 13, 2012 at 18:04 #

    What an exotic sounding and looking soup, and I love all the flavors with the chickpeas and the lamb. I love chickpeas in anything…maybe I have some Spanish blood! 😉 I need to look up this cookbook, it sounds like a great read with wonderful recipes.

    • Chica Andaluza July 14, 2012 at 10:38 #

      Who knows, maybe you are descended from Spanish Royalty way back! Can very much recommend the book, am really being inspired by it 🙂

      • bitsandbreadcrumbs July 15, 2012 at 03:08 #

        Spanish royalty…haha! 🙂 I just saw this book featured in this months Cooking Light…think I may have to check it out and buy it!

  23. Charles July 14, 2012 at 03:14 #

    Hi Chica, I love this kind of soup – made one last year… nice bit of chilli for some kick. The lamb is my favourite though… just really gives such a fantastic flavour to the soup. I really love the look of yours. A beautiful hearty meal!

    • Chica Andaluza July 14, 2012 at 10:37 #

      Thanks Charles – it´s not really a summer soup, but the flavours were so tempting, I had to make it!

  24. peasepudding July 14, 2012 at 03:48 #

    Itis a great book and this soup looks perfect for our winter here or a UK summer ;0) must dig the book out again.

  25. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise July 14, 2012 at 20:59 #

    I keep seeing recipes for harira and keep telling myself I need to try it.
    I love chickpeas and think I will really enjoy it. Saving this to try real soon

    • Chica Andaluza July 15, 2012 at 09:20 #

      If you like chickpeas then this is definitely one for you – and there seem to be so many different ways of making it!

  26. narf77 July 15, 2012 at 11:39 #

    My ex-father in law used to make very thick soup that he called “Stewp” and that, my dear looks like a well hearty bowl of stewp that could only be enhanced by an enormous teetering tower of crusty bread and butter…this one is going into the “must cook” list 😉

  27. ambrosiana July 15, 2012 at 18:02 #

    Delicious, hearty recipe Chica!!! You are right, we have many cookbooks that we never get the time to try all their recipes! Yet there is that “one cookbook” that we are so affectionate to it, that it has many “cooking” marks!!

    • Chica Andaluza July 15, 2012 at 18:49 #

      So true – the favourites are the one that have pages stuck together !

  28. PendleStitches July 15, 2012 at 19:58 #

    LOL! I read that as “Hair” Style Soup and was intrigued. Despite my myopia this looks amazing. Gotta make it!

    • Chica Andaluza July 15, 2012 at 20:24 #

      Last night at the fiesta I was convinced the band had three guys and two girls singing. Turns out one of the “girls” was actually a tall loud speaker and not a young woman in a long black dress. I wondered why she wasn´t moving much….that´ll teach me not to be vain and to wear my specs in public!

      • PendleStitches July 16, 2012 at 12:11 #

        You’ve made my morning! 😉

      • Chica Andaluza July 16, 2012 at 15:40 #

        Embarrasingly I have been reminded of this several times over the last day or so 😦

      • PendleStitches July 16, 2012 at 15:58 #

        Oh that’s harsh!

  29. Karen July 15, 2012 at 20:13 #

    I love it when a book speaks to you. I think it will be well traveled over the next couple of years. Your first soup sounds terrific.

    • Chica Andaluza July 15, 2012 at 21:09 #

      I may have to get my book a passport 😉 Was really pleased with the soup, will be making this often (when it cools down)!

  30. Barbara July 17, 2012 at 07:59 #

    Ottolenghi is a genius – brilliant cook book staples for me – the sweet potato gratin and the chicken with hazlenut and honey plus the green bean salad. You will love this book!!!!!! See you soon B

    • Chica Andaluza July 17, 2012 at 10:05 #

      Aha – another fan! Maybe we´ll get to make something together from it next month! Big hug x

  31. Calico Stretch July 17, 2012 at 10:54 #

    Again YUM! And I wouldn’t have to wait until summer to make it either – thanks Chica! Now, where’s the shopping list…..

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