Preparation time about 25 minutes, plus overnight soaking
Cooking time about 2¾ hours
250 g (8 oz) dried chickpeas
2 chicken breasts, halved
1.2 litres (2 pints) chicken stock
1.2 litres (2 pints) water
2 x 400 g (13 oz) cans chopped tomatoes
¼ teaspoon crumbled saffron threads (optional)
2 onions, chopped
125 g (4 oz) long-grain rice
50 g (2 oz) green lentils, rinsed
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper
coriander sprigs, to garnish
fat-free natural yogurt, to serve
Read also: TUNISIAN CHICKPEA & LENTIL STEW RECIPE
Put the chickpeas in a bowl, add cold water to cover by a generous 10 cm (4 inches) and leave to soak overnight. Drain the chickpeas, rinse under running cold water and drain again. Place the chickpeas in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer,partially covered, for about 1¾ hours or until tender, adding more water as necessary. Drain well.
Meanwhile, place the chicken breasts, stock and measurement water in another saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10–15 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, reserving the stock, place it on a board and shred it, discarding the skin. Set aside.
Stir the chickpeas, tomatoes, saffron, if using, onions, rice and lentils into the reserved stock in the pan, cover and simmer for 30–35 minutes or until the rice and lentils are tender.
Add the shredded chicken, coriander and parsley just before serving. Heat the soup for a further 5 minutes without letting it boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then ladle into bowls, drizzle over the yogurt and garnish with the coriander.
For budget harira, make as above, omitting the chicken breasts and replacing the saffron with ½ teaspoon ground turmeric and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.