"This Moroccan soup is most popular during Ramadan. However, it is a very hearty and tasty soup that makes a nice winter soup as well. Depending on taste, some people like it served with a chopped boiled egg and a few squeezes of fresh lemon."
Place the dry garbanzo beans into a large bowl, and fill with water. In a separate bowl, cover the yellow lentils with water; allow the beans and lentils to soak overnight.
The next day, drain the water. With your thumb and forefinger, pick up and pinch off the husk from each garbanzo bean; discard husks. Place chicken bouillon cube into a small bowl, and dissolve in 1 cup of hot water.
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, and cook the onion in the oil until translucent, about 5 minutes; stir in the saffron and ginger until combined. Add the beef to the skillet, and cook until browned, about 15 minutes, stirring the meat and sprinkling it with salt and black pepper as it cooks. Mix in the chicken bouillon and prepared garbanzo beans, and bring the mixture to a boil.
Pour in 7 more cups of water, and mix in the celery, parsley, and cilantro; simmer until the celery is tender, about 30 minutes. Mix in the soaked lentils, and cook an additional 20 minutes. Mix in the tomatoes, cover the pot, and cook until tomatoes are tender, about 20 more minutes. Stir in the orzo, and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk the flour and tomato paste together; if mixture is too stiff, add about 1/2 cup of water, a tablespoon at a time, or as desired. Stir the tomato paste mixture into the soup, and bring to a boil, stirring often. Cook until thickened and the flavors have blended, about 15 more minutes.
Beef is optional in this recipe as it is chock full of protein. It can be omitted, or chicken is sometimes used instead.
Canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) can also be substituted and it will save a lot of time, but the dried beans do taste better! (Removing the husks from the beans can take me 30 - 45 minutes, thus the long prep. time.)
Per Serving: 435 calories;10.3 g fat;
64.5 g carbohydrates;
22.8 g protein;
21 mg cholesterol;
362 mg sodium.