This traditional Moroccan soup, often made with lamb, is usually served during Ramadan at the end of a day of fasting. This vegetarian version is finished with a dollop of harissa, a spicy North African sauce, which adds flavor and punch. Served with whole-grain bread, harira makes a great light meal. A salad of shredded carrots topped with a sprinkling of currants adds color to the meal and complements the Middle Eastern flavors.
1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add celery and onions; cook, stirring, until celery is softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, turmeric, lemon zest and peppercorns; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
2. Stir in stock, lentils and chickpeas. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, until mixture is hot and bubbly and lentils are tender. Stir in parsley.
3. Ladle into bowls and pass the harissa at the table.
MAKE AHEAD: Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you’re ready cook, continue with the recipe.
Works best in a large (minimum 5-quart) slow cooker
If you prefer, you can use 1 cup (250 ml) dried chickpeas, soaked, cooked and drained (see Basic Beans), instead of the canned chickpeas.