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Hot Harira

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Hot Harira

Ingredients:2 x 15ml spoons olive oil, (500g lamb cubes – optional), 1 x 5ml spoon ground turmeric, 1 x 5ml spoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 x 5ml spoon ground ginger, 1/2 x 5ml spoon ground cayenne pepper, 2 stalks celery, chopped, 1 onion, chopped, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed, 1 chopped fresh red pepper, 1 400g can tomatoes, 1 litre water, 1 stock cube,100g green lentils, 1 can chick peas, drained, 100g vermicelli pasta, juice of 1 lemon, ground black pepper.

1. Peel onion. Make a bridge with your hand and cut the onion in half. Put the flat sides down on the board.

2. Hold the onion firmly with your hand like a claw. Slice across without cutting through the root.

3. Turn the onion round and still holding it like a claw, slice in the other direction.

4. Cut the top off the pepper and pull out the seed head.

5. Cut a slice from the base.

6. Cut down the side of the pepper and open it up into a long strip. Remove any seeds and the white fibrous strips.

7. Stack two or three pieces of pepper on top of each other and cut into strips. Turn the strips around and cut into dice.

8. Wash the celery and cut into pieces.

9. Crush the garlic. The prepared vegetables should now look like this.

10. Heat 2 x 15ml spoons of olive oil in a large saucepan.

11. Add the lamb to the pan. Sauté gently.

12. Add the vegetables.

13. Add the spices and black pepper. Stir frequently for 5 minutes.

14. Make up 1 litre of stock using boiling water and a stock cube or bouillion powder.

15. Add the stock to the pan.

16. Add a 400g can of tomatoes.

17. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes.

18. Add the lentils to the pan.

19. Drain the can of chick peas and rinse under running water.

20. Add the chick peas to the pan. Bring to the boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add more water if necessary.

21. About 10 minutes before serving turn up the heat, add the vermicelli pasta to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes (until the pasta is al dente).

22. Just before serving, add the juice of a lemon and any salt and pepper to taste.

23. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped coriander and strips of pitta bread.

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