When I read this recipe, for some reason I pictured it as being a dark, thick puree. It is not. It is a basic stew. It has a lot of delicious flavors and was pretty good, but it was not at all what I pictured. We tried it in keeping with our attempt at trying new cuisines. This is what Wikipedia has to say about harira:
Harira is the traditional Algerian and Moroccan soup. It is usually eaten during dinner in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to break the fasting day. It is considered as a meal in itself. It is also served to relatives and friends after a special celebration, such as the morning after a wedding night, and its recipe varies then slightly from the harira eaten during Ramadan. Of course, it could be prepared any time, however, some families prefer to stick to tradition and serve it on special occasions.
So instead of eating it on a special day, we ate it on a Monday. And ours didn't have lamb in it, since it was vegetarian. Oh and we used regular lentils instead of red lentils since we couldn't find any red lentils, and just basic vegetable broth instead of some fancy mushroom broth. But that's OK. It was good, but we probably won't make it again.
Cooking Light, June 2007
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 cup warm water
Pinch of saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup organic mushroom broth (such as Pacific Natural Foods)
3/4 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
1/4 cup dried small red lentils
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Combine 1 cup warm water and saffron; let stand 2 minutes. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt, ginger, red pepper, cinnamon, and garlic to pan; cook 1 minute. Add saffron mixture, broth, tomato, lentils, and chickpeas; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in cilantro, parsley, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Yield: 2 servings