Photo by Sergio Salvador
Here's a great recipe I forgot to post from my soup article last fall in Edible Santa Fe!

This Moroccan soup is traditionally served during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. I made a delicious stock by cooking lamb shanks in a crock pot all day, but it would probably still be good if you take shortcuts like using stew meat and canned stock, and even canned chickpeas. Many families add rice or vermicelli as well. Some like it thick, while others leave it more brothy. Recipes vary widely, so feel free to experiment.

2 T. olive oil
2 lamb shanks (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 T. tomato paste
1/2 t. turmeric
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. red chile powder
1 T. ground ginger
2 t. kosher salt
2 t. pepper
2 quarts water
2 large tomatoes, chopped, or 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1/4 C. green lentils, washed and picked over
1 C. dry chickpeas (garbanzo beans), washed and picked over
1/2 C. flour + 1 cup water, or 2 eggs
1 bunch cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat the oil in a large stock pot. Brown the lamb shanks on all sides. Add the celery, onion, tomato paste, and spices. Fry for a few minutes, until the tomato paste is bubbling and the onions have begun to soften. Add the water and tomatoes to deglaze the pot. Transfer to a crock pot and add the chickpeas and lentils. Cook on low heat for about 8 hours, until everything is tender and the stock is flavorful.

Remove the meat from the lamb shanks, chop coarsely, and return to the pot. Shake flour with water and add to the soup in a thin stream, stirring constantly, until the soup is thickened to your liking. (You may not need to use it all.) If you prefer to use eggs for thickening, beat them and add in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Add the cilantro or parsley and cook 5 to 10 minutes more. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serves 6 to 8.


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