Saturday, December 11, 2010


The flavor that separates this Moroccan soup from any other vegetable-beef-lentil is the cilantro. It turns what looks like mostly American ingredients into something from north Africa.

I prefer to purée the soup slightly before serving. You can use a food processor, blender, or immersion blender. The last is definitely the option which involves the least amount of cleaning. It's also perfectly OK to serve it chunky. If you do, try to chop all the ingredients about the same size.

For chopping fresh herbs, I use the ulu knife my parents brought me from Alaska. Yes, they do exist in real life, not simply as the answer to a crossword clue. I find the rolling motion and sharp blade more efficient, since herbs tend to roll out from under a straight blade.

The lamb in this recipe is as much an accent flavor as the carrot, and not the main ingredient. If you put in more than the recipe directs, it alters the balance of the flavors. Stew beef may be substituted if lamb is unavailable.

6 C beef broth
1/2 lb boneless lamb, diced
1 large carrot, cut up
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes (I recommend "no salt added")
1 C lentils
1/2 tsp saffron (optional)
2 onions, chopped
1 C chopped cilantro
salt & pepper to taste
2 Tb lemon juice

1. Combine broth, lamb, and carrot in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

2. Pour canned tomatoes into pot, including any juice. Add lentils, saffron, and onions. Continue to simmer until lentils are cooked, about 45 minutes.

3. Taste broth and add salt & pepper as needed. Add cilantro and lemon juice. Simmer until cilantro has cooked, about 5 minutes. Purée, if desired, and reheat before serving.

makes 6 to 8 servings

Difficulty rating  :)

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