Souls in Limbo
I love being a citizen of two different countries, two dramatically different worlds.
I run from my present to my past country ad libitum as if one were a shelter from the other. When my life here becomes stressful and I am sick and tired of the plastic smiles and CYA mentality, I find refuge in my old home. I plunge into its arms in search of authenticity and simplicity. But when its arms become too constraining and I resent its grip and the way it wants to dictate my life, I run back to my America.
It is wonderful to have two homes. It’s almost like having two mothers, each one fulfilling her own purpose in your growth and well-being. It is truly liberating to feel like you totally belong to one and the other, yet that you do not totally belong to one or the other. And somewhere in the middle, you love being in that shady area, where it’s neither cold nor hot. It’s like being one of those souls in Limbo, wondering where your home is.
So, here is to you, lost souls out there in limbo: a savior of a soup to console and restore–or at least to satisfy the appetite.
Harira is the unofficial national soup of Morocco. It is made in every part of the country and served daily during Ramadan to break the fast at sundown. Omit the flour and you’ll end up with chorba, an equally popular soup.
4 to 6 servings
3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 red onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves
½ cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter
½ pound beef tenderloin, cubed
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 cups canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup lentils, rinsed
2 celery sticks
3 cups water
4 cups beef broth
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Put the tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, and 1/2 cup of water in a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add the beef. Add the salt, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, and turmeric powder. Brown the seasoned meat, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Slowly pour the blended vegetables into the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 2 to 4 minutes.
Add the garbanzo beans, lentils, and celery sticks. Cover with water and beef broth. Simmer covered, 55 to 65 minutes.
Remove the celery sticks and discard. Incorporate the beaten eggs, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve warm.