A Taste of Morocco in Harira Soup

Sometimes my creativity takes me out of the studio and into the kitchen. So how about we go from Mayne Island to Morocco?

A few years ago I found the most delicious Moroccan soup in one of the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks. This Harira soup, in its many variations, is usually eaten to break the fast in the evening meal during the Muslim time of Ramadan which will begin on or close to July 20th in 2012. Just the smell of this fragrant soup being prepared has me smiling with satisfaction and delight. It is a great addition any time of the year to inspire freshness and renewal.

I have made some adaption to the recipe, of course – as any creative person might.

Terrill’s Taste of Morocco Harira Soup

1 cup chopped onions

4 cups vegetable Stock

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds or a bit of fresh fennel

1 large table-spoon finely chopped fresh ginger

A tiny pinch of cayenne

3 or 4 peeled or unpeeled and chopped carrots

2 finely chopped sticks of celery

3 or 4 medium chopped organic tomatoes

(you can leave the peal on if you like but be careful not to get too much tomato as it can overpower this delicate soup)

3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes washed peeled or unpeeled and chopped soup size

(any firm-meat potato will do as will no potato at all)

A small pinch of saffron soaked in warm water ahead of time to release its goodness

1 small (14 ounce) can of organic lentils

1 small (14 ounce) can of organic chickpeas

A good squeeze of Lemon Juice

A dash of Madeira if you have it

A bit of good black pepper and sea salt to taste (a sprinkle of cherry wood smoked rock sea salt is nice)

A nice clump of fresh cilantro chopped

(a must unless you hate it then use parsley)

Sauté the onions in large a soup pot with a bit of olive oil. Add in spices and ginger. Then add carrots and celery followed by vegetable stock and potatoes and finally the tomatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Now add lentils, chickpeas and saffron. Heat through but do not over cook. The celery will tell you when it is cooked just the right amount for you. Add Madeira, lemon, sea salt and pepper very last.

Serve with fresh cilantro and lemon wedges and a smile. We had crackers too but you could have hard-boiled eggs on the side just as easily.

Please feel free to substitute many items in this recipe while keeping the spices consistent. Small amounts of meat can be added such as beef, lamb or chicken. This time I added a little cabbage and it was a nice addition. I didn’t have enough onions so I used a shallot. Tomatoes are not in season so I used canned tomatoes and so on. But always keep the cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, saffron, lemon, fresh cilantro and the tiniest pinch of cayenne.


Side note: this is one of the few soups that I make which tastes best on the day it is made. It is a large pot of soup so invite friends.

Today is my daughter Josie’s birthday and I know how much she loves soup and foods that fill her senses with their natural goodness. Happy Birthday Josie!

SPROUT: What foods fill all your senses with their natural goodness?

© 2012 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at http://terrillwelchartist.com

21 thoughts on “A Taste of Morocco in Harira Soup

  1. I will make this in honour of Josie, and her birthday. We love soup as well.
    Sounds delicious.
    And by the way Terrill, I purchased your book Precious Seconds. What a lovely book. I will be happy to show it to our guests.
    Take Care, Brenda

    • It is an excellent easy soup Brenda. I think you will enjoy it. And thanks for letting me know you purchased a copy of my book as well. What fun. You better be careful or you are going to join the “Terrill Welch collectors club” pretty soon;)

  2. You know Terrill, I can taste and smell the aroma of this soup from where I am presently sitting at the PC. We are all soup lovers in this house, and this recipe really brings together some healthful and delectable ingredients. No doubt that the first day is the best one to indulge in it, and what a lovely surprise for Josie on her birthday.

    Happy Birthday and bon apetite!

    As to the sprout I’d name a good lentil soup, escale and beans with garlic, and some fabulous home cooked tomatoe sauce, a la Lucille or my 81 year-old father, both of whom make a mean pasta dinner. My father is a master with eggplant parmigiana. Heck, Italians know some good dishes, no? Ha!

    • Well I have to agree Sam Italians do know some pretty good dishes. For your gang I would suggest doubling this soup the first time if it has things in it that they like. It is easy to eat a couple of bowls and not feel like it too much.

  3. Ummmmm, me too, soup is my fave. Can’t wait to try this new one. I’ve been playing around with broth making for a while now, love to make a my own bases and then freeze them in ice cube trays and add a couple cubes to whatever I’m making – I’ll have to try that with this.

  4. Terrill, what a beautiful recipe! Thank you for sharing…… it looks and sounds delicious (and uses some of our favorite combinations of flavors and spices).

    There are few things that are more heartwarming and soul satisfying than homemade soup. Many favorites in our house, including a spicy sweet potato soup we are just finishing off.

  5. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, I can practically taste it and it’s delicious! And the photographs are equally scrumptious!

    SPROUT: What foods fill all your senses with their natural goodness?

    Thai food is my absolute favorite — the look, the smell, the texture, and most definitely the taste 🙂

  6. Yummy good for a snowy day. I am making my chicken quinoa soup again this week, because I have all the ingredients and I just want to sit and enjoy the snow. It is mid afternoon and it has just stopped snowing!

    I bet this soup smells good – I passed it on to my other soup nut in the family.

    We use veggie stock/ or potassium broth lots at our house…it is so good for folks with absorption problems to get the nutrient they need. I can understand why this soup is good for breaking a fast
    Thank you for sharing

    • I have never hear of potassium broth before Patricia… what might this be? Your chicken quinoa soup sounds delicious too! Enjoy your snow. We got flurries but they are gone. It is cool enough that I pulled out my red wool dress sweater to wear with black slacks to friends for dinner tonight though. I can only wear this sweater when it gets close to freezing or cooler – otherwise it is just too hot.

  7. Terrill, the picture of the bowl caught my eye. I love, love, love those dishes!! And I have a soup I make that’s nearly the same in a Mediterranean cookbook I cherish. Yours has some differences that I’m going to try. Thank you for sharing this.
    As you probably know, I’m not a “foody” at all. I like simple fare. But this picture and recipe really hit the spot.
    Thanks again.

    • You are most welcome Amber. I think you will find this dish simple and quick to prepare particularly after the first time you make it. The thing that is hardest is to make sure you have all the ingredients.

  8. YUM. I just saw your facebook post and now I’ve saved this into my Recipe folder. Those cold, dreary winter days we get in this part of the world will be a bit brighter and warmer for me now! (And your dishes…. *drool*) Thank you for sharing!

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