It wouldn't be January without a healthy recipe to celebrate the new you in a new year. A trendy fusion of all things super-food, perhaps from an exotic place redolent with warm, earthy spices served up in a warm, earthen bowl.
Crafted to feed the hungry souls after the day-long fasts of Ramadan, Harira is a satisfying Moroccan soup of colorful red lentils and chick peas. This flavorful, fiber-rich version, retro fitted to suit ingredients available here at home, comes together in about an hour. Its lemony, tomato broth is spiked with fresh cilantro and parsley, as well as vermicelli to add a bit of bulk. Ground cumin, golden turmeric, cinnamon and ginger lend complex flavors with a simple teaspoon or two, as well as life-affirming antioxidants. Pass with a basket of warmed wholegrain pita.
Steal my Healthy Heart Moroccan Harira
Serves 8 to 10
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 chicken bouillon cube, optional
- 1 large bunch fresh parsley
- 1 large bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 20-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 14-ounce crushed tomatoes
- 4 ounces vermicelli or thin spaghetti
- 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
- Olive oil, to taste
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced, to garnish
In a large soup pot, bring the stock and bouillon cube (optional) to a boil. Finely chop about 1/4 cup each of the fresh parsley and cilantro and set aside. Tie the remaining herbs (with stalks) in a bunch and add to the pot.
Add lentils, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, turmeric and coriander; season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, vermicelli, onion and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and discard bunch of herbs. Check for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. Add the reserved chopped herbs, olive oil and lemon juice. Serve each bowl with a lemon slice, dust with ground cinnamon, if desired.
Diva confession: When it comes to soup, everyone knows that homemade rules. But when time refuses to cooperate, you may find yourself reaching for the can. A drizzle of fresh lemon juice or even plain old white vinegar enlivens flavors. Sprinkle the hot soup with favorite fresh herbs and your results will be, well, uncanny.