moroccan bean and chicken soup

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

The first time I made this Moroccan chicken and bean soup it was “surprise soup.” It was a cold day, and I looked around in my fridge, saw beans, chicken, and carrots, and thought, there must be a soup in here someplace!  So, I started paging through my cookbooks.  I found a recipe for harira, which is Moroccan bean and vegetable soup, in The Book of Jewish Food (a wonderful cookbook which is part recipes and part travelogue).  The recipe called for lamb (but I had no lamb in the fridge) and lentils (no lentils in the pantry), but I figured I could adjust it.

I replaced the lamb with chicken and the lentils with white beans.  The carrots, well they had to wait for another day.

I used soaked beans (since I already had them; you can use a can instead, or try my quick soak method to speed up the process.

It’s technically spring as I type this, but at 57 degrees it sure doesn’t feel like it. Time for soup!

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: African, Sephardic, Jewish

6 servings

moroccan bean and chicken soup

Moroccan inspired chicken soup with beans and vegetables.


  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs (about 3 or 4)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 can beans, or 3/4 C dried beans, soaked overnight (or use the quick soak method)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 16 oz can tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • pinch ginger
  • pinch turmeric or saffron
  • 1//4 C flour
  • 2 oz. thin noodles, like vermicelli or angel hair, broken in quarters
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice


  1. Heat 1 T of the canola (or other neutral oil) in a large pot Add the chicken pieces and brown, turning occasionally, for five minutes.
  2. Add the water, and bring the pot to a boil. Remove any scum that rises to the top.
  3. Now add the beans to the pot.
  4. In a separate frying pan, cook the onions in the oil until they brown.
  5. Season the soup with salt and pepper and bring it to a simmer, cooking about 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Add the tomatoes, jalapeno, ginger and turmeric. If the soup boils down too much and gets too thick, add more water to bring it to the right consistency.
  7. Mix the flour with a bit of cold water, to make a paste. Add the flour paste to the soup, stirring so it doesn't clump together. It should thicken the soup and make it "velvety. (think velveting chicken in Chinese cooking). Now add the pasta and simmer it another 15 minutes until the pasta is cooked. Add the coriander and the lemon juice.
  8. If you used bone-in thighs (and you should for more flavor), let the soup cool for a minute or two and pull out the bones.
  9. Pour the soup into bowls and serve, or package into individual portions and freeze.


You can substitute lamb and lentils for the chicken and beans, or switch the pasts with rice.

Tools and Ingredients for this Recipe

Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Cookware, Dutch Oven, 5-quart

I have a similar pot in a smaller size, but I really lust after the bigger one. Mine also doesn’t have the built-in strainer (which seems very handy). It does have the glass lid, which is great because I can easily see how close the food is to boiling without lifting the lid and getting a face full of steam. It’s great for soup or chili or a big pot of pasta when company is coming.

Frontier Turmeric Root Ground, 1.92-Ounce Bottle
Turmeric is related to ginger and has a warm, peppery flavor. Like ginger, it can be savory or sweet, and can be used in both dinner and dessert recipes. It’s great in soups, on chicken, lamb, or mixed in with scrambled eggs. It’s also an anti-inflammatory.

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