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Milk Street Recipe

Moroccan Beef, Tomato and Chickpea Stew (Harira)

2½ hours 45 minutes active

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Moroccan Beef, Tomato and Chickpea Stew (Harira)

Harira is a Moroccan stew—or a thick, hearty soup—traditionally served during Ramadan as a way to break the fast. Made with meat, tomatoes, spices and chickpeas, harira is warming and deeply satisfying, so it’s no surprise it’s served year-round in homes as well as at shops. We sampled several versions on a recent trip to Morocco, and we loved the one taught to us by home cook Houda Mehdi, who lives in Fes in northeastern Morocco. We based our recipe on hers, opting for stovetop simmering instead of pressure cooking and swapping beef for lamb. We also use canned chickpeas for convenience. Though harira typically is thickened with flour, Mehdi prefers to use pureed cooked vegetables (potatoes and carrots) to give the broth body, because she says—and we agree—that the stew tastes cleaner and brighter. We follow her lead and mash the vegetables that have simmered until tender in the cooking liquid to a coarse puree (alternatively, you could use an immersion blender for a smoother, more even texture). Harissa, a North African spice paste, lends the stew a delicious heat and complexity. Serve the harira with warm bread.

4 to 6



Don’t combine the cilantro stems and leaves after chopping. Reserve them separately, as the stems are used early on and the leaves are stirred in just before serving. Also, don’t bother rinsing the chickpeas. Simply drain off the liquid from the cans. The starchy liquid left clinging to the chickpeas helps give the soup a rich consistency.

2½ hours

45 minutes active

Caroline L.
September 22, 2022
Startling delicious
I knew it sounded good on paper but the end product was fabulous! I doubled the recipe and shared with neighbors who raved about it. Salt to taste in the end and added more harisa paste.
Athena P.
September 7, 2022
Too tomato-y
This makes a lot of soup but the flavor was overwhelmingly tomato & the 2TB of harissa got completely lost/overwhelmed. Not my favorite harira; if making again I'd probably use half the tomato, sub cayenne during the cooking time & save the harissa for table use. We did really like the mashed veg method of thickening though as it allows us fine control over the thickness vs. having larger chunks of veg in the bowl.

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