. Spicy Lamb Soup (Harira) Recipe Seriously Soupy

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spicy Lamb Soup (Harira) Recipe

Spicy Lamb Soup (Harira) by Brenda Abdelall of Eau de Spice

Guest Blogger: Brenda Abdelall of Eau de Spice 

The Middle East is an often misunderstood region - full of politics, oil, and religious strife.  However, what is easily overlooked is its rich cuisine. Middle Eastern food is full of flavor, history and, which without a doubt, bridges people together. It is currently the month of Ramadan, where Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. Each night, elaborate dinners are prepared where family, friends and neighbors gather to share thanks for the food they are able to enjoy.

One of the most popular things in Ramadan is soup. In Egypt and Lebanon, it is common to have crushed lentil soup. However, the most decadent soup of all is harira.  This Moroccan soup is reserved for special occasions, and is often considered a meal in itself.  While your kitchen becomes filled with the delicate aroma of saffron and ginger, the fasting stomach is warmed with the hearty combination of lentils, chickpeas, and lamb.  You can serve this hearty soup at any time, and this simplified version spares none of the original flavor.  If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can cook this low and slow for about 1.5 hours, or until the meat is tender.  I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does, and that the flavors of the Middle East entice you to try more recipes. 

Spicy Lamb Soup (Harira)Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes (with a pressure cooker)
1 1/4 lb boneless, trimmed leg of lamb – diced into small cubes
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 clove of garlic
pinch of thyme
olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup of celery, diced
1 cup brown lentils (rinse well)
1/4 cup of tomato paste (approx. 3 tbsp)
1 tomato, diced
1 can of chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped parsley
juice of 1/2 lemon (can add more to taste)

(1) Combine lamb with salt, pepper, ginger, saffron, thyme, curry, and
garlic.  Add a dash of olive oil to moisten the mixture.  Mix well.
Let the lamb marinate while you prepare the other ingredients. You can
also prepare this the night before.
(2) In a pressure cooker, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium/high
heat.  Saute the onion and celery.  Add the lamb, and brown on all
(3) Add the lentils, tomato paste, and tomatoes.  Mix well. Add
another pinch of salt, and curry (or red chili flakes, if you like
heat). Cover the mixture with approximately 2 to 3 cups of water.
 (4) Cover the pressure cooker, and let the pressure build for
approximately 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook for
another 25 minutes.
(5) Release the pressure according to the instructions for your
pressure cooker.
(6) Add the can of chickpeas, parsley, and the juice of 1/2 lemon.
Serve and enjoy!

To read more mouth-watering as she explores a variety of recipes and flavors, be sure to check our her amazing website - Eau de Spice.

Do you have any amazing meat recipe that you would like to contribute to Soupy? Email me at seriouslysoupy@gmail.com for more details.


  1. There's a lot of fantastic seasonings used in this soup. I haven't used lamb before, does it add a sweet flavor? A healthy soup with the lentils and chickpeas.

  2. I do love me some lamb and surprisingly my son likes it too, even when it's gamey.

  3. Hi Cristina,

    Brenda used some amazing flavors in this soup -- the lamb adds a slight sweetness. Perfect for days like these!

  4. Hi Damaris,

    Do you make lamb soup for your son?

    Seriously Soupy Serena