Harira (Moroccan Chickpea Soup)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 (35-oz) can whole tomatoes, drained
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small celery rib (including leaves), finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups stock
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 oz dried capellini, broken into 1-inch pieces, or fine egg noodles (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Accompaniment: lemon wedges

Directions

  1. Soak chickpeas in water to cover by 2 inches 8 to 12 hours, or bring the water to a boil, remove from heat, and soak for 1 hour.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Transfer to a large saucepan and add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours (or cook in a pressure cooker for about 30 minutes). Cool chickpeas and drain, reserving cooking liquid. You should have about 2 1/2 cups liquid (if not, add more water).
  3. Coarsely puree tomatoes in a food processor. Cook onion and celery in butter in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add turmeric, pepper, and cinnamon and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomato puree, 1/3 cup cilantro, chickpeas with reserved liquid, stock, and lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.
  5. Stir in pasta and cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in parsley, remaining 1/3 cup cilantro, and salt to taste.

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