Spiced Moroccan Stew (Harira)
This is a wonderful stew with complex layers of flavors—in fact, it’s now on permanent autumn/winter rotation in my home! For a vegan version, use vegetable stock, skip the chicken, and use a coconut-based yogurt.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
3 stalks celery, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
3 large carrots, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (smoked cinnamon is great, here)
1-1/2 teaspoons harissa, plus more for serving
Salt to taste
1 bunch parsley, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups), divided
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups), divided
1 (15-ounce) can tomatoes, diced or crushed
7 cups chicken stock
1 cup green lentils (or 2-1/2 cups cooked angel hair pasta)
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
1/2 roasted chicken, shredded
1 cup baby kale or spinach, chopped
2 Medjool dates, chopped (alternative: 2 tablespoons raisons or honey)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 a large lemon (about 1/8 cup)
TO SERVE: Add a dollop of Greek yogurt, a sprinkle of the reserved parsley and cilantro, crispy-fried onions (I use Trader Joes), a drizzle of honey, and some harissa on the side, if you’d like more heat.
Chop all vegetables, herbs, and dates. Measure all spices into a small bowl. Juice a lemon. Shred the chicken.
SAUTE & SIMMER
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion, celery, and carrots until the onion turns translucent and begins to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, harissa, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup each of the parsley and cilantro, the diced tomatoes, and the stock—bring to a boil. Add dried lentils. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, then add canned chickpeas, shredded cooked chicken, kale (or spinach), chopped dates, and a teaspoon of pepper. Continue simmering until the chickpeas and lentils are fully cooked, about 20 minutes more.
Stir the lemon juice into the stew.
Add a dollop of Greek yogurt, a sprinkle of the reserved parsley and cilantro, crispy-fried onions (I use Trader Joes), a drizzle of honey, and some harissa on the side, if you’d like more heat.
This is a flexible recipe. Traditionally, Harira includes some thin pasta, like angel hair (about 2-1/2 cups, cooked). The stew can be thickened with an egg, 2 tablespoons of flour, and a cup of the stew’s liquid—I don’t do this, because the dollop of Greek yogurt at the end accomplishes much the same purpose. You can also replace all or some of the lentils with whole grains. If using whole farro or freekeh, add at the beginning of cooking, as they take about 40 minutes to an hour to cook. But do keep in mind that cracked freekeh takes about 25 minutes to cook.
Adapted from King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking From Around the World by Joan Nathan.