This is my adaptation of a Moroccan soup called Harira traditionally eaten during Ramadan, although it can be made throughout the year. There are, of course, many different variations; I love to put ground lamb in mine, along with chickpeas and other yummy vegetables and spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and turmeric. It has a lovely sunny glow to it - thanks to the turmeric, carrots and yellow peppers - which in the dark days of November, reminds me that there is still sun, somewhere! Plus, the wonderful spice flavors are sure to warm you inside and out.
Of course, when there is more rain and less sun, our immune systems can be more vulnerable to colds and flus. This is where the turmeric and ginger particularly are helpful to include in our meals.
Ginger contains a compound called gingerol that is responsible for its healing properties, one of which is that ginger can prevent inflammation. When I think of a cold or the flu, I automatically think of a nice hot warm lemon and water drink, steeped with plenty of fresh grated ginger in it. The ginger has such warming and healing qualities is so helpful to aid when you are feeling rundown.
Turmeric is another wonderful spice that you probably associate with curry. The root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine and it boosts being used for numerous health condition. A few I will mention are: arthritis, heartburn, joint pain, stomach pain, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, headaches, bronchitis, colds, and lung infections. Oops, I said few and already, those are many! Anyways, there are several more and if you are interested, you can read more about it here.
As per usual, I have gotten a wee bit side-tracked; now back to the soup and my version of it. If you are not keen on eating meat, the lamb is optional; you can add lentils and chickpeas to 'beef' it up. Sorry!!! I know, bad pun. This is an easy soup to put together and if you are adventuresome like me, you might even change out some of the vegetables.
Here we go!
If you are using lamb, add it to the pot now and continue browning the mixture together until the lamb has lost its pinkness - perhaps about 5-8 minutes.
Add your broth (preferably hot), along with the cooked chickpeas, bay leaf and tinned tomatoes and simmer for at least 30-45 minutes on low with the lid slightly on.
About 10 minutes before serving, add 1 or 2 cups of finely chopped kale (with spine removed) or parsley or cilantro. It's really your choice which flavor you prefer. Also, add about 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger. It depends on how much lemon you like - you could add more as I did use 1/2 cup but I love a lot of lemon.
Simmer for just a couple of minutes if you are using the kale just to cook it but if at all possible you don't want it to lose its lovely green shade. Serve and enjoy - this is really a cross between a soup and a stew and is delicious on a cold wintery night.