This is an essential element in Moroccan cuisine, especially during the festive month of Ramadan, when it is used to break the daily fast, following dates and perhaps milk. This is a hearty tomato-based soup with considerable versatility, depending on the ingredients that you have on hand and the flavors that you prefer.
- olive oil
- 1-2 onions, diced
- parsley and cilantro, a handful of each, minced (these can be stored in the freezer to keep them on hand)
- celery, if on hand, about one stalk diced
- tomatoes (I like to use at least 28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes for convenience. If you prefer to use fresh tomatoes, then remove the skins first, and then dice them. To remove skins, I would drop tomatoes in boiling water for about a minute, until the skins start separating by themselves.)
- red pepper, black pepper, salt, ginger, cinnamon (optional: saffron, cumin, turmeric, ras al-hanut Moroccan spice mix)
- chicken, beef, or lamb (optional - you can add a vegetable or other broth if you prefer, and you can adjust the ratio of broth, water, and tomatoes according to your preferences)
- water to taste
- chickpeas, if on hand
- lentils and/or rice, if on hand
- capellini pasta, if on hand
1. Pour olive oil into pressure cooker. (Alternatively, one can use a pot or dutch oven, but it will need to cook longer.)
2. Soften onion in pot. Add parsley, cilantro, and celery. Then add tomatoes and seasoning. Allow to cook about 10 min. on medium heat.
3. Add meat if desired. Add water and/or broth to cover all. Bring to a boil, and leave to cook about 15 min.
4. Add handfuls of chickpeas (I don't add any more than 1 cup), lentils, or rice. (I use about 1 c. of lentils, and I don't use rice. Some people do, and some people add eggs or beans too!) Close pressure cooker, and leave about 45 min.
5. Uncover pressure cooker, and turn heat to low if everything seems to be sufficiently cooked. Add pasta (I add about 1 cup). To thicken, you can add some flour mixed with water, and then stir constantly for about 10 min.
6. Cook about 30 min. more with occasional stirring.
7. Serve hot, in a soup tureen if possible. You might like lemon slices on the side.
* Please feel free to post variations for accommodating particular dietary preferences.