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Gluten Free Fridays: Snow & Soup

March 27, 2009
Backyard blizzard; 1.5 feet of snow falls on March 26th

After a temporary hiatus, Gluten Free Fridays is back. Magic made me this soup while I was on bedrest. While the snow was falling yesterday, I was dining on leftovers. To think, just a week ago I was having lunch with RetroGirl and we decided not to sit on the restaurant patio because it would have been too hot in the sun!!

I hadn’t made this recipe in years. Magic dug it up in a binder I have of photocopies of recipes. My notes on the recipe say it’s from the premier issue of the magazine Eating Well from 1990. I was in Africa at the time, but my mom found the recipe. For my mom’s short falls, she always was a great cook. She also supported me when I was a vegetarian and found this great recipe. It’s one worth sharing.

Meatless Harira
(Moroccan Ramadan Soup)

I lived with Muslims in West Africa (not Morocco). In Islam, Ramadan is the month of fasting. It’s a lot like Lent, but more intense. During the daylight hours, one could not ingest anything, not food, water, or smoke, and no sex. After sundown, people would feast. We had ice during Ramadan, which is a big deal in a village without electricity or running water. It was brought in by pickup in the late afternoon insulated in woodshavings. While part of the purpose of Ramadan is to practice humility, we ate some of our best meals during that month. Of course, you can eat this soup anytime.

The traditional version of this Moroccan soup contains lamb and sometimes chicken, as well as beans, herbs and vegetables. The chickpeas can be substituted for the beans.

1/2 cup dried chick peas or 1 cup canned chickpeas
1/2 cup dried white beans, like great northern beans, or 1 cup of canned equivalent
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
3/4 cup chopped celery leaves and ribs
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. saffron threads
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2 28-oz cans of whole tomatoes well-drained and chopped
3/4 cup lentils
salt to taste
1/2 cup gluten-free spaghetti, broken into small pieces
(the original recipe calls for fine vermicelli)
1 egg, beaten
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Soak beans overnight or use quick-soak method; cover beans with water three times their volume, bring to a boil and boil gently for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain and set aside. Or just used canned beans, drained and rinsed.

Heat olive oil over low heat in a heavy-bottomed soup pot and saute onion over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Add celery, parsley, cilantro, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, saffron, and ginger and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, cover, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add chickpeas and white beans to the pot, along with the lentils and 2 1/2 quarts water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the lentils and beans are thoroughly tender. Season to taste with salt and more pepper. Mash some of the beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon to thicken the broth slightly.

About 5 minutes before serving, remove 1/2 cup soup from the pot and set aside to cool. Stir spaghetti into the pot. Meanwhile, mix together egg and lemon. When the spaghetti is cooked, turn off the heat. Gradually add egg-lemon mixture to the cooled 1/2 cup soup and quickly stir into soup. Garnish with lemon slices and chopped cilantro.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Lori permalink
    March 27, 2009 5:15 pm

    I must make this soon. Yummy!We need to talk about our experiences, Girlfriend. We were in Syria for a few years. Let’s compare east vs west next time šŸ™‚

  2. DAVs permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:00 pm

    That snow picture is absolutely amazing! I cannot even fathom seeing that much snow. It was 80 degrees here today…Your recipe looks delish, too! Hoping for only good things for you!

  3. March 27, 2009 8:22 pm

    Looks tasty. Best of luck for the wait.B

  4. Rela Pantaleon permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:28 pm

    I couldn’t believe it when you emailed back that you had 1 ft of snow! The picture is the proof!Anyway, the soup sounds delicious! I gotta try that some time … but first, gotta stuff DH with cranberry first so all that beans will not get his gout going again!Arpee @ < HREF="" REL="nofollow">The Saga of Becoming Fruitful<>

  5. the misfit permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:41 pm

    That looks AWESOME. Can you share how the meat is incorporated – what kind, how much, preparation method? If that’s kosher for you, if not, no matter (I improvise everything anyway).

  6. Lost in Space permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:59 pm

    Crazy picture!! That was quite a storm.Your recipe looks great, but I wonder how it would be without the beans? I just can’t do those nasty little things. Maybe I’ll try it without one of these days and let you know how it goes……

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