Moroccan cuisine has become very popular around the world and at  Wickedfood Cooking School we run a variety of North African cooking classes.  This  spicy lamb and chickpea soup, with strong Muslim influences, comes from one of our North African cooking classes. It is also a dish featured in our cookbook of the week – World Kitchen Morocco.

500g neck or shank of lamb, cut into 3 or 4 pieces

2 L cold water

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 celery sticks, finely chopped

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1 t turmeric

1 T ground ginger

Pinch of nutmeg

2 large bunches fresh coriander, washed and chopped

100g small lentils, soaked for ± 3 hours

120g chickpeas, soaked overnight with a pinch of bicarb, or 1 x 400g tin cooked chickpeas

2 T tomato purée

2 T flour dissolved in 1/2 cup water

1 lemon, juice of

50g butter

1 lemon, quartered

Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

  1. Place the lamb and water into a large pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, skimming off any scum or fat as it appears.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, celery, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, salt and pepper as well as half the coriander. Cook for ± 20 minutes.
  3. Add the lentils and chickpeas (if using dried, soaked chickpeas), then simmer for another ± 40 minutes.
  4. Once the lamb is soft enough to be pulled off the bone, remove and flake. Return the lamb meat to the pot, along with the tomato purée, flour mixture and lemon juice (and chickpeas, drained, if using tinned). Season the soup with salt (because of the lemon juice this soup may need more salt than one would expect), and sugar.
  5. Continue to cook for 10 minutes, or until the pulses are soft. Take off the heat, and stir in the butter and the remaining coriander.
  6. Serve with a wedge of lemon and, if you’re feeling exotic, sweet dates at the side.

Serves 6-8

Other Moroccan inspired dishes on our blog:

Moroccan chicken

Preserved Lemons