Rometti is excited to announce that this week we are going to take you back to the Mediterranean, to a mesmerizing country that will enchant you with colors, textures, mystique smells and natural beauties. Its cuisine is quite refined, although very simple, and reflects all the characteristic of the culture through its combination of spices and contrasting ingredients. For the next five weeks our Cook N Bake blog will feature Moroccan cuisine.
Thanks to its location Morocco has always been exposed to foreign interactions that contributed to influencing along with the culture also the cuisine. Regardless of the harsh climate which changes from North to South, especially going towards the interior regions of the country, Moroccan coastal side allows the development of agriculture which remains one of its main financial resources. Fruits and vegetables are fundamental in Moroccan cuisine, and so are beef, lamb, chicken, rabbit, pork (prohibited during Muslim restrictions), camel and seafood. But the main culinary characteristic is to attribute to the use of a large variety and heavy quantity of spices like kefta (cinnamon), cumin, turmeric, saffron, coriander, mint, lemon and orange flavors. These are present both in food and beverages. As a matter of fact meals, especially if formal, usually end with a cup of sweet mint tea.
To start our journey we selected a delicious starter to a Moroccan meal: Harira, a tomato and lentil soup seasoned with pepper, cinnamon, ginger, onion, celery, cilantro, and parsley. A nutritional, healthy, yet extremely flavored dish typical of Ramadan, when it is served at sunset.
Moroccans prepare this soup in a lot of different ways: ingredients may include chick peas, vermicelli or rice, as well as lemon juice or men (preserved butter). Eggs and meat can also be added, it really depends on the regions, local tradition and preferences.
Harira can be served with dried fruits like dates (very popular in Morocco), homemade bread, and hard-broiled eggs.
You can pick your own ingredients, we pickd ours and hope that you will enjoy this warming Harira soup as a starter or as a delicious meal.
– 1 lb. lamb, cut into small cubes
– 1 teaspoon turmeric
– 1 teaspoon pepper
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon ginger
– 2 Tablespoons butter
– 3/4 cup chopped celery and leaves
– 2 onions, chopped
– 1/2 cup parsley and cilantro, chopped
– 1 2-lb. can of tomatoes, chopped
– 3/4 cup lentils
– 1 cup chickpeas (canned are fine)
– 1/4 cup fine soup noodles
– 2 eggs, beaten with the juice of 1/2 lemon
Put the lamb (or beef), spices, butter, celery, onion, and parsley/cilantro in a large soup pot and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomato pieces, and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes. Salt lightly.
Add the juice from the tomatoes, 7 cups of water, and the lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 2 hours.
When ready to serve, add the chickpeas and noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Then, with the soup at a steady simmer, stir the lemony eggs into the stock with a long wooden spoon. Continue stirring slowly, to create long egg strands and to thicken the soup. Season to taste. ladle into bowls and dust with cinnamon(optional). Squeeze in some lemon. Before serving makes sure that the meat is tender.
Serve with some dates (Medjool dates are recommended).
Recipe from http://www.grouprecipes.com
Image from www.bbcgoodfood.com