This soup takes time. You have to find and cook lamb shanks (although lamb stew meat will do in a pinch) ahead of time, and then simmer the meat and broth with a trio of typical Moroccan spices: saffron, ginger, and cinnamon. This soup is marvelous ladled over couscous or rice and topped with a dollop of harissa.
– 4 lamb shanks (about 4 pounds total), or 2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks.
– 1 onion, finely chopped.
– 2 carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced crosswise.
– 4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole.
– 1 quart chicken broth or water, plus more as needed.
– 8 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped.
– 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger.
– 1 teaspoon ground turmeric.
– ½ teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 1 tablespoon water for 30 minutes.
– ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
– 8 assorted mild dried chiles such as ancho, guajillo, and chilhuacle negro, in any combination, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes to soften, drained, and seeded.
– 2 cloves garlic.
– 1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped.
Step 1:In a pot just large enough to hold the soup, combine the lamb, onion, carrots, garlic, and 1 quart broth, or more as needed just to cover. Bring toa gentle simmer, cover, and simmer for about 3 hours, or until the meat offers no resistance when poked with a skewer. As the meat cooks, turn it every now and again so that it cooks evenly.
Step 2:If you have used lamb shanks, remove them from the pot, pull away the meat from the bone, cut the meat into pieces, and return the meat to the pot. Add the tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, saffron and its soaking water, and cinnamon and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3:To make the harissa, finely chop the chiles. Mince 2 cloves garlic with a chef’s knife, and then crush them to a paste with the side of the knife. Combine the chiles, garlic, and tomato and season with salt and pepper. Pass the harissa at the table.