Lamb Harira Soup

  • 6
  • 20 minutes
  • 2 hours

For a tasty, nourishing and filling winter meal, I can’t go past a Middle Eastern harira soup. This is my favourite version, and while there are a lot of ingredients, it is relatively simple to make.

Course: Main
Recipe contains:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 lamb shanks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads
  • 400 g can diced tomatoes
  • 2 litres stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)
  • 300 g sweet potato, diced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 270 g pumpkin, diced
  • 300 g zucchini, diced
  • 400 g silverbeet or kale, chopped
  • 1 handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 handful of mint leaves, chopped (optional)
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
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You just need time to let the shanks slowly cook so the meat falls off the bone – is there anything better in the world? I think not. I often double this recipe for dinner parties and give the guests a container when they leave. They love it! If you use buckwheat, you will need to start this recipe the day before.

Melt the oil in a large saucepan or an ovenproof tagine dish over medium–high heat.


Season the lamb shanks with salt and freshly ground black pepper and brown the shanks on all sides in the pan. Remove from the pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion and celery. Sauté, stirring occasionally for 4–5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.


Add the garlic and spices and sauté for another 1–2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 3–4 minutes.


Pour in the stock or water and return the meat to the pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for approximately 1½ hours.


Add the sweet potato and salt and pepper to the soup and simmer for 10 minutes.


Add the pumpkin and cook for a further 10 minutes before adding the zucchini and silverbeet or kale.


Simmer for 10 minutes until all vegetables are cooked and the meat is falling off the bone. Adjust the seasoning, stir in the coriander, parsley and mint (if using) and serve with lemon wedges.