Harira is a traditional Moroccan stew made with chickpeas, lentils, and meat. This lamb version comes from the Toro Bravo cookbook, and it seemed like just the dish for a rainy Portland Spring evening. The recipe begins by sautéing shallots, parsley, and cilantro in olive oil. Although fresh herbs are typically tossed in towards the end of cooking, Moroccan dishes cook them up at the beginning to create a base of flavor. Next you add a mixture of fresh chopped ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, and saffron and stir for about a minute until the spices release their fragrance. (Moroccan cooking doesn’t benefit from substituting smoked paprika—the smokiness would overpower the other spices.) Add in the onions and lamb and stir until the lamb is cooked and the seasonings are fully incorporated into the meat. Finally, add in rinsed brown lentils, chickpeas, and high quality chicken broth and simmer for about an hour, or until the lentils are tender.

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Finish the stew off by adding the juice of one lemon and ¼ chopped preserved lemon peel. Preserved lemon is a beautiful, very flavorful ingredient. Be sure to remove the pulp and pith—the rind will give you the flavor you need without the bitterness.

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At Toro Bravo, an unforgettably delicious Spanish tapas restaurant in Portland, this dish is served with buttermilk cheese and homemade flatbread. To keep it simple and gluten free I served it with brown rice and a sour, plain Greek yogurt. It may not rival the restaurant original, but it was delectable enough for me!

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Harira via Culinate

Toro Bravo Cookbook by Liz Crain and John Gorham


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