29 March 2013

Lentil & Harissa Soup

I seem to be bumping in to harissa here there & everywhere.  Then there’s a little more inspiration in a recent issue of Donna Hay, harrissa butter & harissa infused oil,  & then I was lucky enough to bump in this tempting Ottolenghi concoction that I feel will need to make an appearance sometime very soon.

If you are not familiar with harissa it is a North African staple traditionally made from red chillies, coriander & cumin seeds, though there are a multitude of variations going from fiery down to mild & fresh .  Additions might include caraway, dried mint, garlic, & sweet paprika. It is usually served with cooked meat or stirred through a tagine or stew to add a wonderfully spicy depth of flavour.  It can also be used as a rub to spice up a roasted or give a little kick to some baked fish.

I do like harissa & picked up this one down at the Clevedon Farmers Market & had a Cuisine Artisan Award Winner harissa in the pantry too. If you want to make your own... or here over at Couscous & Consciousness.

Feeling in the need for a little comfort & a little heat this soup hit the spot. Not to mention the perfect antidote to all those Easter eggs!

Lentil Soup with Harissa


1 kumara (sweet potato), cut in to 2cm / 1 inch cubes
Pinch chilli flakes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot diced
1 tbsp harissa
2 cups red lentils
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup coriander leaves
Juice 1 lime
Salt & pepper

To garnish
Greek yoghurt
A few coriander leaves
Sliced red chilli
A little lime juice


Pre heat oven to 180C/350F

Place the kumara in a baking tray, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of chilli flakes & season with a little salt & pepper. Place in the oven for 30 minutes or until well roasted.

While the kumara is roasting heat the remaining 2 tablespoons in a large saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the onion, celery & carrot.  Season with salt & pepper & sauté for a few minutes until the onions are translucent & the vegetables softened, 5-10 minutes.


Add the harrissa & stir everything together.  Cook for a minute or 2 & then add the lentils & the chicken stock.  Bring the soup to a boil & then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are cooked.

Add the roasted kumara & then blend with a stick blender, to smooth if that is how you like it or blend it a little less if you like a little more texture. If the soup becomes too thick just add a little water until you have a more soup like consistency.  Stir in the coriander, lime zest & juice.  Taste & season with a little more salt & pepper if need be or a little more lime juice.

For the garnish swirl a little more harissa gently through the the yoghurt.  Place a dollop on top of each bowl of soup.  Sprinkle over a little dukkah & a few coriander leaves, red chilli & a squeeze of lime juice.  Serve immediately.

Rustic, satisfying & warms both body & soul! Have a great Easter everybody.

If you like this you might like this Vegetable Soup
One year ago Hot Cross Buns



  1. This sounds incredibly perfect for the sudden freezing autumn weather we are having today! Love the idea of roasting the kumara separately, then adding it all together with delicious spices.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, still quite warm here but I love lentil soup just about any time :)

  2. Wonderful soup, Mairi. I love the earthiness of lentils - perfect at this time of year - and with the sweetness of roasted kumara and the kick of harissa, I know this would be stunning. Thanks for the mention :-)

    As an Ottolenghi-lover, by the way, you might be interested to know that we are about to begin six months of cooking with Ottolenghi over at I Heart Cooking Clubs - you might like to join in when you have time. You can check it out here http://iheartcookingclubs.blogspot.co.nz/

    Have a lovely Easter, Mairi xo

    1. Hi Sue, Yes I saw that....I think I may well have to join in!


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