With the bitter cold we’ve had over the last few days, I wanted a recipe that would make you feel all warm inside. I also felt like eating lamb. I thought of an Irish Stew but it felt too standard. I’ve been trying to introduce my kids to lentils and beans as a way to reduce the cost of the grocery basket.
So, I needed a soup with lamb and beans or lentils that would warm people up inside. I was thinking of types of cuisines and I immediately thought of Morocco.
Morocco is known for its saffron, its dates and figs, its olives, its pastries and its mint tea. Just thinking of Morocco makes me hungry and thirsty.
We were expecting some friends from Vancouver: Daphné and Marc-Sébastien with their new baby Cedric and they’d been on a whirlwind tour of friends and family. I just knew that a soup would hit the spot.
2 cups Chick Peas (not in a can, they need to have been rinsed for 24 hours)
Shoulder of lamb (off the bone and cubed)
1 cup of lentils
4 branches Celeri
2 pound of tomatoes (blanched, skin and heart removed)
Peanut Oil to cook with
Cracked black pepper
2 lemons (cut in quarters)
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of salted button
Soak the chick peas overnight
In a stew pot, drop a spoonful of peanut oil along with the lentils, the onions, the ginger, the cinnamon, the two types of butter, the coriander, the saffron, the chopped celery as well as the cubes of lamb. Season to taste (the recipe calls for salt and pepper but it’s really not enough, please add some cumin and some turmeric along with one or two hot peppers to give it more pizzazz)
Add three liters of water and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes. (to add more pizzazz, I would have used chicken broth rather than just water but maybe my taste buds have been perverted by my travels) Your checkpoints should be the chick peas and the lentils, if they are tender, incorporate the tomatoes. Cover and cook for 30 more minutes.
Put the flour in a bowl and incorporate some of the soup broth. Whip until it has a smooth consistency. Incorporate back into the Stew and cook for 30 more minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and coriander.
Serve with the sliced lemon, dried figs, dried dates and some warm crusty bread fresh from the oven.