The red lentil soup thread below made me remember the soup recipe for Lybian Soup in the NYT last Wed.
We really liked it, but made several additions/ deletions.
It calls for saffron and I don't like saffron (lucky me cause it's so expensive), so I added some cumin instead. I also used chicken stock instead of water, added the chick peas at the beginning so they simmered with the soup, and partially cooked the orzo separately before adding to the soup. I had a tube of harissa so used it instead of cayenne.
Here's the recipe.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ cups chopped onion
½ pound boneless lamb shoulder or dark chicken meat, finely chopped
4 medium-size ripe tomatoes, diced
½ can (3 ounces) tomato paste
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or harissa, or to taste
½ teaspoon saffron threads
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup orzo, fine pearl barley or couscous
1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained (canned are fine)
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ tablespoon dried mint.
1. Heat oil in a four-quart casserole or saucepan. Add onion and lamb or chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne or harissa, saffron and salt and pepper. Stir, then add 8 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
2. Add orzo and chickpeas and cook 15 minutes, until orzo is tender. Add cilantro and parsley. Taste and adjust salt and cayenne or harissa. Add dried mint. Cook for 5 minutes, then serve.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.