Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs
An inspired soup with a wide assortment of spices, seasonings, lamb or chicken and the unique chamira—a fermented potion that thickens the soup somewhat and adds characteristic flavor.
FOR THE CHAMIRA
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
FOR THE SOUP
- 4 tablespoons corn oil
- 2 lbs boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 inch cubes or 2 1⁄2 lbs chicken parts, leg, thigh, breast
- 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
- 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped (1 pound)
- 10 sprigs fresh coriander, chopped
- 6 sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 4 celery ribs, strings removed and sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground caraway seed (divided)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon hot red chili powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon saffron, stamens or 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground aniseed
- 7 cups water
- 1 cup dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight in water and drained
- 1⁄4 cup brown lentils, soaked overnight in water and drained
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1⁄4 cup rice, well rinsed or 4 ounces angel hair vermicelli
- lemon wedge, for serving
- PREPARE THE CHAMIRA: Mix the flour and vinegar together: Cover the bowl and let stand in a warm place in the kitchen overnight or longer to ferment. Add to the soup toward the end of the cooking process.
- PREPARE THE SOUP: Pout the oil, lamb and onion in a large pan and stir fry over low heat for 5 minutes to change the color.
- Add the tomatoes, coriander, parsley, celery, salt, pepper, ½ teaspoon caraway, cinnamon, chili powder, saffron and anise and mix well. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the chick peas and lentils and cover the pan. Simmer over low heat for 1 ½ hours.
- Add the tomato paste, rice and chamira and stir frequently for 15 minutes so that the chamira does not stick to the pan. Add the balance of the caraway (1/2 teaspoon) and remove the soup from the heat.
- Serve warm with lemon wedges and squeeze as much juice into the soup as desired.
- Serves 8 as a first course.
- The Great Book of Couscous.