Harira

You might have noticed my absence last week, sorry! The girls were on Spring Break. Instead of spending my days planning meals and my evenings preparing them, I spent my days with my daughters running all over Austin and my evenings preparing simple, quick meals, and enjoying being a family of four. This project takes a good amount of effort, looking for recipes, grocery shopping, and of course the actual preparation, so it was nice to give myself a break from all that. I think the most labor intensive meal I made was Shepherd’s Pie and that was because I had to make mashed potatoes. I also made an Irish Soda Bread for that meal and it was THE BEST I’ve ever had. You can find the recipe here and I highly encourage you to try it. It’s really easy and I think it’s a recipe you’ll save for the future. 

This week we are in Morocco! The cookbook I’ve chosen is Moroccan: A Culinary Journey of Discovery. It’s not a very large book and I feel like it’s more of an introduction to Moroccan cooking but that’s okay. I just wanted some of the best, most popular dishes and these types of cookbooks are great for that. While flipping through the cookbook, I found a recipe for the Greek Chicken Filo Pie  and the Greek Chicken with Lemons and Olive. I think I mentioned before that the cookbook I used for Greek week ended up being more of a Mediterranean cookbook than specifically Greek, so I found this humorous. 

Harira.

It’s a traditional Moroccan soup that is typically served as a starter but can be a main course. It’s very hearty so I don’t know how you’d have any room for anything else if used as a starter. It’s mostly served during Ramadan as a break during fasting. If I were fasting and this was the one meal I ate, I would be okay with fasting on a regular basis. 

This was not a quick meal. Between prep and the actual cooking, it took me about an hour and a half. Fortunately it didn’t require a lot of attention once it got started. Aside from the maybe ten minutes I spent sauteeing the veggies and browning the meat, I wasn’t in the kitchen very long during this meal. This was nice because I was able to play with the girls in the backyard and finish putting up laundry. Multi-tasking is great!

This was a fantastic meal! This was the first time I cooked with canned diced tomatoes. Usually if a recipe calls for a can of chopped/crushed/dice tomatoes, I just use fresh tomatoes and chop/crush/dice them myself. Like, why pay for a can and more waste when I have this fresh tomato right here? Well, I’ll tell you: 1. ripeness 2. acidity 3. recycling.

Apparently canned tomatoes are canned when ripe, whereas store bought tomatoes are picked before they’re ripe and then artificially ripened before distribution. This is why you often times get tomatoes that don’t taste all that great. Canned tomatoes also have citric acid, which not only helps in fighting botulism but it also gives it a fuller flavor. I need to look into how letting fresh tomatoes sit in lemon juice for a bit before cooking affects the flavor of those tomatoes…SQUIRREL! I got distracted. And lastly, if you are worried about adding more waste to this beautiful earth with a can, you can recycle or upcycle the can. Problem solved!

I think the addition of the canned tomatoes made a huge difference in this stew. Technically it’s a soup but I felt it was a more of a stew. Anyway, it was very rich in flavor. It was a little salty, tangy, nutty; it was just great. I used beef instead of lamb because I really don’t like lamb and also, lamb is stupid expensive. I don’t think it made that huge of a difference but if I ever have Harira with lamb, I’ll let you know. 

So after taking a week off from this project, this was an amazing way to get back into the thick of things! Let’s hope the rest of Morocco week is this welcoming. 

Recipe

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3 thoughts on “Harira”

  1. Yep, I love using canned tomatoes. Delicious and less prep time. ;). You have gotten me interested in Moroccan food, never tried it before but this looks great. Don’t think it would drive me to fasting….but looks good. 😉

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    1. Anything that reduces prep time is okay with me! 🙂 This would probably be a good meal for you to make right now since it doesn’t require you to be in the kitchen a lot.

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