Chorba (Moroccan Soup of Chickpeas, Vermicelli and Vegetables)

Moroccan Mixed Vegetable and Garbanzo Stew with Harissa

When I chose my island for my kitchen, my builder thought I was crazy for picking such a large one. Clearly he is not a cook, because there is just no such thing as too much counter space in the kitchen. I am a cluttered person, and being able to always have counter free for prep work and baking is important to me. And the extra counter space is especially handy when there is a chance that your periodontist dad might make a quick trip down to your house on a Sunday morning and stretch your baby girl out on the counter to perform gum surgery.

Yup you read that right. Sammy was a trooper, she cried but did not struggle, much to my relief. And even more to my dad’s relief I suspect. Ice cream has been the theme for the rest of the day for the patient, but the surgeon got this Moroccan Chorba soup.

Moroccan Mixed Vegetable and Garbanzo Stew with Harissa

I found this soup in one of the cookbooks I bought the other day, A Month in Marrakesh: Recipes from the Heart of Morocco by Andy Harris. I was instantly intrigued by the noodles with the chickpeas, a combination that has worked really well in other dishes, such as the New Year Noodle Soup. And it did again here. John and I preferred this a little spicy, with Harissa and spicy chickpeas. The kids preferred it with Greek yogurt. My dad ate it the way John and I did and proclaimed it the best thing I served him today (I had an assortment of dishes out). This soup would be comforting in winter, made with canned or frozen tomatoes, but it is especially fantastic right now, with fresh picked zucchini, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Moroccan Mixed Vegetable and Garbanzo Stew with Harissa

Adapted from Andy Harris.
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Moroccan
  • For the soup:
  • 2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 small red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 T chopped cilantro (I subbed flat leaf parsley)
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped, with juice
  • 1 t saffron threads
  • 6-8 cups chicken stock (low sodium if commercial)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 15-oz cans, drained and rinsed, OR if using homemade, just throw the cooking stock in and use less chicken stock)
  • ½ lb dried angel hair, broken into smaller pieces
  • ½ small preserved lemon, rind only, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • harissa for garnish
  • spicy chickpeas for garnish
  • For spicy chickpeas:
  • cooked chickpeas, 1-2 cups
  • 2 t harissa
  • fresh lemon juice to taste
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes and sweet potatoes with a pinch of salt. Toss to stir. Let fry, stirring every 3-4 minutes, for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini and chopped cilantro with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, saffron and chicken stock. Add less chicken stock if you are using homemade cooked chickpeas with the cooking broth. Use more if you are using canned chickpeas. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the chickpeas (with cooking liquid if you cooked them), cumin, coriander, minced preserved lemon peel and angel hair. Let simmer briskly or boil gently to blend the flavors and cook the pasta, about 20 minutes. Season with the fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste before serving. Serve with harissa and spicy chickpeas on the side.
  5. To make the spicy chickpeas: Either cook chickpeas or drain and rinse canned chickpeas. Toss with the harissa and extra virgin olive oil. Then toss in lemon juice to taste (start with 1 tablespoon or 2) and salt and pepper. Let rest.


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  1. says

    Well one thing about NYC is that you would NEVER have enough counter space to do gum surgery on, that’s for sure! And barely enough to chop veggies on. 😛

    I adore Moroccan flavors. Totally want a bowl of this tonight.

  2. Martha in KS says

    When I remodeled my kitchen I told the contractor that the island had to be the right thickness for my pasta machine. We know what we want.

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