This Moroccan-style chickpea and red lentil stew with harissa, lemon and mint couscous is something I’ve made a few times before, so I thought it was about time that I recorded the recipe in some way so that my husband can make it for me every so often.
I’m not sure how genuinely Moroccan it really is, but the combination of spices is something I’ve come across in other Moroccan recipes before, so I’ll tentatively say that it’s in the style of an authentic Moroccan chickpea stew, if I may.
It’s really easy to make, especially if you get the stew started then prepare the couscous so that it ‘cooks’ in its own steam while the stew is simmering away. Then all you have to do is prepare your cheese of choice – I used feta here but I actually usually serve the stew with halloumi – and away you go!
Moroccan-style chickpea and red lentil stew with harissa, lemon and mint couscous
- 1 tbsp sunflower/vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 0.5 pepper of your colour of choice, finely chopped (you can also throw in some fresh or frozen spinach instead of/in addition to the peppers)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
- 1 fresh chilli, finely chopped
- 0.5 tsp red chilli powder
- 0.5 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground fennel
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 0.5 tsp ground turmeric
- 200g tinned chopped or plum tomatoes
- 50-75g red lentils
- 400g tinned chickpeas
- juice of half a lemon
- chopped coriander or flat leaf parsley
- salt and pepper
- cubed feta or sliced and griddled halloumi (see tip below), to serve (optional but highly recommended!)
For the couscous:
- 175g couscous
- 1 tsp harissa paste
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- handful of fresh mint leaves
- salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a saucepan. Cook the onions and peppers until soft.
- Add the garlic and fresh chilli and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and spices. Simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the red lentils, chickpeas and enough water to cover everything. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for around 20 minutes, or until the red lentils are soft, stirring occasionally and adding more water if required.
- While the stew is cooking, prepare the couscous by placing it in a heatproof bowl and adding the harissa, lemon zest, mint and seasoning. You can also add a little olive oil if you like. Add enough boiling water to just about cover the couscous, then cover the bowl with a plate and leave to one side.
- Add the lemon juice, coriander or parsley and seasoning to the stew, and stir well. Take the stew off the heat.
- Fluff up the couscous with a fork and serve alongside the stew and the cheese of your choice.
Tip: to cook halloumi to perfection, simply cut it up into thick slices, heat a frying pan until very hot, then add the halloumi and fry it for 1-2 mins, or until brown underneath. Flip each slice over and cook for another 1-2 minutes until brown on the other side. That’s it! Don’t cook it in oil – this seems to take away the slightly crisp texture.