According to a recent issue of Milk Street Magazine, this aromatic Moroccan dish, called harira, is traditionally served during Ramadan to break the daily fast. It’s sometimes vegetarian, other times meaty, and depending on the cook, its consistency may be thick and hearty or light and brothy.
This recipe calls for lamb, but you could substitute an equal amount of boneless beef chuck. Note that the chickpeas require soaking, which we did, to cook at the same rate as the meat. For convenience, however, you can skip the dried chickpeas and simply stir some drained canned chickpeas into the stew at the end.
Speaking of those chickpeas, we felt that only 1/3 cup for those and the lentils was way too few in the end. We advise tripling both to 1 cup each to help thicken the base, which we deemed too thin. These larger amounts are noted in the ingredients list below.
We opted for the Fast version here, but Milk Street also offers directions on a Slow method if you prefer. Don’t forget to serve with lemon wedges which add a bright note, and a drizzle of grassy extra-virgin olive oil. If not counting carbs, offer crusty bread for soaking up the broth.
Don’t use brown or regular green lentils in place of the lentils du Puy. Though those varieties do hold their shape, they cook up with a softer, more yielding texture than Puy lentils, which stay quite firm and offer textural contrast to the stew.
Moroccan Lamb Stew with Chickpeas and Lentils
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
- 6 medium celery stalks, sliced ½ to ¾ inch thick
- 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 6 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
- ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. sweet paprika
- 14½ oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 2 lbs. boneless lamb shoulder or beef chuck, trimmed and cut into ¾- to 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup lentils du puy
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or a mixture, chopped, plus more to serve
Directions (for the fast version)
- In a small bowl, stir together 2 cups water and 1½ teaspoons salt. Add the chickpeas and soak at room temperature for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and set aside.
- On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select Normal/Medium Sauté. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the celery, onion, garlic, ginger and 2½ teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cinnamon, paprika and 1½ teaspoons pepper, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
- Stir in the tomatoes and 4 cups water, scraping up browned bits. Add the lamb, lentils and chickpeas; stir to combine, then distribute in an even layer.
- Press Cancel, lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 15 minutes.
- When pressure-cooking is complete, let the pressure reduce naturally for 15 minutes, then release the remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper, then stir in the parsley and/or cilantro. Serve sprinkled with additional herbs and drizzled with oil
Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street