Moroccan Stuffed Pepper Soup
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Homemade Moroccan stuffed pepper soup is spiced with tons of seasonings. It’s a twist on the traditional stuffed pepper soup loaded with ground beef, lentils, and cooked rice. Warm and cozy just like a good soup should be!
Warm and cozy is all I want.
We are on week 12 of rain here in Houston. Okay, maybe it’s not quite that long, but you get the idea. It’s dark and grey and cloudy. I want to eat healthy, but I also want to check the comfort food box. Something warm and hearty that’s scented with warming spices, tender veggies, and of course rice or pasta.
So naturally, a bowl of soup is what comes to mind. This Moroccan stuffed pepper soup is loaded with tons of spices to give it some warmth, but it’s also got protein from ground beef and lentils. And what bowl of stuffed pepper soup would be complete without rice on top? Not any soup I’d like to have!
Spicing up soup is my jam. I like to turn traditional chicken noodle into a Mexican version. I like to put meatballs in my soup, make tomato basil with a secret ingredient so it’s low on the calories but full of that flavor.
My Moroccan stuffed pepper soup is pretty straightforward. It’s high on the veggies and spices while keeping the calories on the low side.
I like to use homemade chicken or beef stock for this recipe because it gives in a fuller, more intense flavor than store-bought stock but you can use whatever it is you like! I typically dedicate a day each month to making and storing stock in the freezer for comfort food season. It doesn’t take that long, but I’ll pencil it in on the calendar, and that’s how I refer to it. Stock-making day.
If you’re looking to make some of your own, use the carcass (I’m so sorry for using that word) of two chickens along with a ton of veggies and let it all simmer on the stove for 2 hours. Here’s the chicken recipe I make and save the bones from to make this stock. It’s seriously the best stock ever, and all you need to do is let a bunch of stuff hang out on the stove.
The same can be done with beef bones! Just roast them in the oven and make the stock the same way.
What kind of meat can you use to make Moroccan stuffed pepper soup?
Here’s the thing, you can use ground beef, ground lamb, even turkey or chicken would work here.
I like to use ½ ground beef and ½ ground lamb as it gives the soup a unique flavor. Lamb is more commonly used in Moroccan cooking, and the spices work well with it. Of course, it is on the pricier side so feel free to use all ground beef here too if you’d like.
What do you need to make Morrocan stuffed pepper soup?
Aside from the ground meat and stock, here’s what you’ll need:
- mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery)
- red bell pepper
- ras el hanout
- harissa paste
- tomato puree/ diced tomatoes
- lemon juice
- cooked rice
What’s Ras el Hanout and what role does it play in Moroccan stuffed pepper soup?
Ras el hanout is a spice blend most commonly used in North African cuisine. It’s similar to garam masala (used in Indian cuisine) and uses many of the same spices. Ras el Hanout contains spices such as cardamom, nutmeg, turmeric, chili powder, paprika, allspice, cinnamon, coriander, and cumin.
If you can’t find ras el hanout at the grocery store, you can purchase it online (affiliate link.)
If that’s not an option either, you can make your own.
How to make homemade ras el hanout seasoning:
You’ll need a ½ teaspoon of:
- chili powder
You’ll also need one teaspoon of:
- ground cumin
- ground coriander
What kind of lentils can you use for this Moroccan stuffed pepper soup?
I used brown lentils for today’s stuffed pepper soup, but you can also use green lentils.
What if I don’t like lentils? What else can I use?
If you don’t like lentils, you can add a can of rinsed and drained garbanzo beans towards the last 20 minutes of cooking time.
How to make Moroccan stuffed pepper soup?
The first step to making Moroccan stuffed pepper soup is browning the meat. Once the meat is browned, add the onions, carrots, peppers, celery and let them soften a bit. We’ll spice it up with the ras el hanout seasoning and the garlic before you add the stock, honey, harissa, tomato puree, diced tomatoes, and lentils. Then, it’s as simple as letting everything simmer for 40-50 minutes until the lentils are cooked. Then season with salt and add the lemon juice.
I like this with 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice, but you can use less if you don’t want this to be tangy!
How to serve Moroccan stuffed pepper soup?
When your soup is ready, ladle it into bowls and top with cooked rice. I like to serve this with about 1/2 cup of cooked rice per bowl. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and serve with lemon wedges to really brighten your bowl!
I hope you’ll give this easy yet flavorful Moroccan stuffed pepper soup a try!
How great would this be to serve on Halloween?
Oh and for dessert, these muffins.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds lean ground lamb or beef
- 1 cup EACH: chopped onions AND chopped carrots
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons ras el hanout
- 1 tablespoon EACH: honey AND harissa paste
- 1 (24-ounce) bottle passata (or tomato puree)
- 2 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
- ½ cup green or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 3 cups low sodium beef or chicken stock
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice, and more to taste
- chopped cilantro or parsley, for topping
- cooked rice, for serving
- BROWN: Add the olive oil into a large pot or dutch oven. Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat and season with a pinch of salt. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, peppers, and celery, and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring as required. Add the garlic and season with ras al hanout let cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- SIMMER: Add the honey, harissa paste, tomato puree, tomatoes, lentils, and stock. Allow the soup to reach a simmer, then lower the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes check to see if the lentils are cooked all the way through. If they’ve been in the pantry for a while, they may require an additional 5-10 minutes of cooking. Add the lemon juice, taste and adjust salt, pepper, and add additional lemon juice as desired.
- SERVE: Add soup to bowls and top with ½ cup of cooked rice and sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro.
- if you don’t have or can’t find ras el hanout, it’s easy to make your own! You’ll need: ½ teaspoon of each cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric, chili powder, paprika, all spice and cinnamon. You’ll also need 1 teaspoon of EACH: ground cumin and ground coriander.
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