At sunset in Morocco during the month of Ramadan,(The 9th month of the Moslem year), A firing cannon signals the end of the day's fast. and heralds the time to sit down to rich, red and spicy Hirira. Hirira is not eaten only at Ramadan, however. Chicken can be used instead of lamb and using chicken broth in place of water,to make a lighter soup, or meat may be omitted altogether and another vegetable or two such as eggplant and zucchini, added to make a vegetarian soup. The soup is some times thickened at the end of the cooking with flour, or with eggs.
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz lean lamb, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
6 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup red lentils
salt (about 1 teaspoon) or to taste.
pepper, ( I use cayenne red pepper)
14 oz tomatoes, peeled,deseeded and chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup vermicelli
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
lemon wedges, to serve
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then fry the lamb until lightly and
evenly browned. Stir in the onion and cook gently until softened. Add the
chickpeas and water, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour,
or until the chickpeas are almost tender. Add the lentils, tomatoes,
tomato paste, cinnamon and red pepper and simmer for a further 15 minutes,
until the lentils and vermicelli are tender. Stir in the cilantro and
seasoning. Serve with Lemon wedges.
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