Rory says, "Moroccan food is one of the great cuisines of the world and in the hands of the skilled and knowledgeable cook strikes a beautiful balance of sweetness, saltiness, sourness and heady aromatic flavours. In Morocco this soup is traditionally served to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan. There are thousands of different recipes for the soup, with each household adding their own twist. I prefer to use lamb rather than beef and find a more balanced flavour is achieved. This is a purely personal preference - and I don't think there is a right or a wrong combination of ingredients. You may find the addition of the rice at the end of cooking to be an unusual choice, but it gives a velvety finish to the soup. Sometimes the rice is replaced with tiny bits of pasta, like orzo. This soup is substantial - I like to serve it with lots of fresh chopped coriander and a lemon wedge on the side. The warmer the weather, the more inclined I am to squeeze a little juice into the soup."

Rory says, "Moroccan food is one of the great cuisines of the world and in the hands of the skilled and knowledgeable cook strikes a beautiful balance of sweetness, saltiness, sourness and heady aromatic flavours. In Morocco this soup is traditionally served to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan."

"There are thousands of different recipes for the soup, with each household adding their own twist. I prefer to use lamb rather than beef and find a more balanced flavour is achieved. This is a purely personal preference - and I don't think there is a right or a wrong combination of ingredients."

"You may find the addition of the rice at the end of cooking to be an unusual choice, but it gives a velvety finish to the soup. Sometimes the rice is replaced with tiny bits of pasta, like orzo. This soup is substantial - I like to serve it with lots of fresh chopped coriander and a lemon wedge on the side. The warmer the weather, the more inclined I am to squeeze a little juice into the soup."

Ingredients

  • 100g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 110g puy lentils
  • 450g lamb, trimmed of all fat and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp each of ground ginger, saffron strands and paprika
  • 50g butter
  • 100g long grain rice
  • 2 tblsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 4 tblsp chopped flat leaved parsley
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon wedges, to serve with the soup

Method

  1. Drain the chickpeas and discard the soaking water. Place in a saucepan with the lentils. Add the lamb, onion, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, saffron and paprika. Cover with 1.5 litres of water and stir gently to mix. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to the boil and skim off any froth that rises to the surface. Add in half of the butter. Turn the heat down and simmer the soup covered, for 1-1 ½ hours until the chickpeas are tender. Keep an eye on the level of liquid in the pan and add a little more water if necessary.
  3. Towards the end of cooking time, prepare the rice. Bring 850ml water to the boil in a saucepan. Add the rice, stir gently and cook until tender. Drain the rice, reserving the cooking liquid.
  4. Cook the chopped tomatoes in 3 tablespoons of the rice cooking water. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. The tomatoes should have a 'melted' appearance. Add the cooked rice and tomatoes to the soup and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning, if necessary adding some of the reserved rice cooking water to thin out the soup a little.
  5. Add the chopped herbs and serve with lemon wedges on the side.