Moroccan Lamb Soup with Chickpeas and Lentils

A new one on us, this aromatic Moroccan dish—called harira—traditionally is served during Ramadan to break the daily fast. As Milk Street explains, it’s sometimes vegetarian, other times meaty, and depending on the the cook, its consistency may be thick and hearty, or light and brothy. I personally thought it was too brothy and prefer a thicker base. This could be accomplished be cutting back on the amount of water and/or adding more lentils which absorb liquid.

While the original recipe calls for lamb, you could substitute an equal amount of boneless beef chuck. For convenience and a time-saver, we omitted the step of soaking dried chickpeas and simply stirred in one can of drained chickpeas into the soup at the end. This is noted in the recipe below.

Serve with lemon wedges and a drizzle of grassy extra-virgin olive oil, and offer crusty bread for soaking up the broth. A nice toasted slab of crusty bread with a schmear of garlic butter was the perfect antidote.

Moroccan Lamb Soup with Chickpeas and Lentils

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 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
  • ⅓ cup lentils du Puy (French Lentils)
  • 1 19 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or a mixture, chopped, plus more to serve


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then stir in the drained chickpeas, parsley and/or cilantro. Serve sprinkled with additional herbs and drizzled with oil.

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Rackow for Milk Street


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