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From Soup and Bread: Chickpea Lentil Stew

By Megan Tempest in Food on Feb 23, 2010 6:20PM

Image Credit: Chuck Sudo

Last week a couple of us Chicagoist staffers were on hand to represent at Hideout's Soup and Bread. It was a delight to participate and help raise a healthy chunk of change for the Lakeview Pantry.

Chuck whipped up some tasty Smoked Sausage Gumbo. For the legume lovers, I prepared a hearty Chickpea Lentil Stew. This recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s version of Moroccan Harira, which is a traditional soup served during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. After tweaking the recipe a bit, and removing the chicken meat, I think this version is fantastic and super nutritious. You can make this recipe entirely “vegan” by using vegetable stock. However, despite my pro-plant tendencies, I’m partial to a really rich homemade chicken stock in this soup. Just be sure to skim off the fat floating on the surface of your stock before you proceed. And go crazy with the cilantro and lemon!


2 cans chickpeas, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup diced celery
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (and the juice)
1 ½ quarts chicken or vegetable stock
¼ lb. dried green lentils
½ cup long grain brown rice
½ cup-1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (save some for garnish)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Juice of 1 lemon (plus a little zest for garnish)


Heat the olive oil in a medium stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery and cook until the onions are translucent and the celery is tender. Add the ginger, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and about ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir and cook for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the chicken stock, lentils, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer for 1/2 hour.

Add the rice and season with a little more salt (about ½ teaspoon). Continue to simmer for another ½ hour. Add the cilantro, parsley, and lemon juice and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.

To serve, garnish with a little lemon zest and a cilantro sprig. Makes about 12 servings.