Moroccan harira with sorrel sauce recipe

Posted in January, February, December, All Recipes, Winter, on

This is a traditional soup/stew – a meal in itself – eaten to break the month-long, daylight fasting of Ramadan. It's fragrant and spicy, typically served with little bowls of lemon juice to pour into the soup as you eat. It's also excellent with a swirl of sorrel sauce on the top. If you have leftovers, eat it with rice and yoghurt the next day.

Serves 8 as a starter, 6 for lunch

  • 1kg middle neck of lamb, filleted and boned (you want to end up with about 450g meat)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 680g tomato passata
  • 80g lentils
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • Lemon wedges, to serve
For the stock:
  • Bones from the lamb
  • 1 large carrot, halved
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 stick of celery, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and black pepper
For the sorrel sauce:
  • 100g sorrel leaves, stems removed
  • 250g natural yoghurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice and grated zest of ½ lemon, to taste
  • Plenty of salt and black pepper

Ideally, make the stock the day before so that the fat solidifies overnight and is easier to skim off the next day (there won't be much). Put all the stock ingredients into a large flameproof casserole with 3 litres water. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered until reduced by half (about 45 minutes to 1 hour).

Strain the stock through a fine sieve, discarding the bones, vegetables and herbs. Allow to cool. Pour into a jug and set aside. If you wish, you could buy lamb stock (or make up vegetable stock) and skip this stage.

Chop about three-quarters of the meat into 2cm cubes, and the rest into slightly larger cubes.

Heat the olive oil in the large flameproof casserole, adding the onions, celery, garlic, parsley and fresh ginger and sweat for 5-10 minutes. Add the meat, stir to brown for 5 minutes, then add the passata, lentils and all the spices, and pour over the stock.

Stir well, bring to the boil and allow to simmer gently for 1 hour, partially covered. Stir the soup every so often. You might need to add extra water if it becomes too dry.

Meanwhile, whizz up all the ingredients for the sorrel sauce in a food processor. Taste and season.

Add the chickpeas and lemon juice to the soup 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Taste and season, then mix in the coriander.

To serve, ladle the harira into large shallow bowls, adding a dollop of sorrel sauce and a wedge of lemon on top of each one.

This recipe features on p357 of Sarah's Food for Friends and Family cookbook.