Discover a new way of eating with Brother Hubbard’s fresh, pure flavours dedicated to sharing and happiness. Leaning towards aspects of Middle Eastern and Southern Mediterranean food, The Brother Hubbard Cookbook is packed with nutritious, wholesome, often deceptively vegetarian dishes that emphasise flavour, colour and texture. This Moroccan harira soup is a true star, especially as part of a mezze sharing platter. It’s packed with flavour, it will knock your socks off!
This soup is a traditional Moroccan staple. I was fortunate enough to pay a visit to Marrakesh not so long ago, and despite the intense heat, this seemed to be the almost universal choice for lunch there daily amongst many of the locals. We serve pretty little palm-sized Moroccan bowls of this as part of our mezze sharing platter on our evening menu. It’s a true star.
rapeseed, sunflower or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tsp hot smoked paprika
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
6–8 ripe tomatoes, chopped, or 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained, or 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
200g dried green lentils, rinsed
1–2 litres boiling water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
squeeze of lemon
30–50g total fresh coriander and parsley leaves, chopped, with some reserved for garnish
Heat a drizzle of oil in a heavy-based pot with a lid set over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry gently for 10–15 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Stir in the garlic and spices and cook for another few minutes. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, lentils and enough boiling water so that it becomes a light brothy mix (it should be thin, not thick). Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 40–60 minutes if using dried soaked chickpeas, stirring regularly, until the chickpeas are completely tender. If using tinned chickpeas, cook for 20–30 minutes.
Taste the soup, adjusting the seasoning and/or spices until you’re happy with the flavour. A good dash of lemon juice works wonders here too. Depending on the texture of the soup, you might want to add a little more water as well. If you feel it’s lacking intensity, a few spoonfuls of tomato purée can really help (dissolve it in a little bowl of the hot soup, then add to the pot), as can a spoonful of harissa if you have that to hand and/or some of the spices.
Finish by adding the chopped herbs to the soup and pouring into warm bowls. Garnish with some of the reserved fresh coriander and parsley.
Plain Greek yogurt or smoked aubergine yogurt (page 338 of The Brother Hubbard Cookbook) and fresh herbs or the mixed herb and chilli ‘salsa’ (page 149 of The Brother Hubbard Cookbook).
We cannot recommend our smoked aubergine yogurt dressing highly enough with this soup. You won’t believe how well it goes alongside the herbs as a garnish.
To make this soup into something entirely different, pan-fry some finely chopped chorizo and add to the bowls with the herb garnish when serving along with a drizzle of the oil from the pan. Serve with some flatbread or sourdough for a light lunch.