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Vegetarian Harira (North Africa)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
20 sprigs cilantro
20 sprigs Italian parsley
8 threads Spanish saffron, lightly toasted
1/2 cup whole wheat berries
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)
Juice of 2 lemons (optional)
Cilantro leaves
Lemon wedges
Crusty bread

Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Fry onions,
stirring occasionally, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend tomatoes, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cilantro,
parsley and saffron in blender. Add to onions, cover and bring to
rolling boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium, add wheat berries
and broth and cover tightly. Cook until wheat berries are fairly
tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.)

Add lentils and garbanzo beans with liquid. Cover and cook until
lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Ten minutes before serving, lower heat to simmer and season with
salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, beat egg with lemon
juice in small bowl and add to soup, stirring with long wooden
spoon until mixture forms strands. Ladle harira into individual
soup bowls. Top with cilantro and serve immediately with lemon
wedges and crusty bread. 8 servings.


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