When I was in Morocco this summer, I heard about this new kitchen gadget for the first time. The Vorwek Thermomix, which is apparently not easily available in the US, is somewhat of a hybrid slow cooker, kind of a futuristic, George Jetson Crockpot. It kind of surprises me that Americans, the biggest fans of slow cookers, haven't already been turned on to this new miracle machine.
In Morocco this is the latest kitchen fad and is only sold through direct sales. The representative invites prospective buyers to a cooking demo using the Vorwerk Thermomix and wows people into the purchase. While I didn't attend any of these demos myself, I heard a lot about the machine from family who have seen the Vorwerk in action and I had the opportunity to see a cousin using the machine in her home.
I am not sure exactly how to describe the thing, it's a combination Crockpot, pressure cooker, food processor, bread maker, yada yada yada all in one. Very intriguing, no doubt, and if it wasn’t for the price tag (over US$1,000), I would be tempted to get one and try it out. Interestingly enough, however, a few years back I was also intrigued with the Crockpot and it's more permissible price tag. I bought one but it hasn't made it out of the box yet. If you have a tempting recipe that you think would motivate me to open the box and give it a whirl, please send it my way to firstname.lastname@example.org .
For now, my Kitchen Aid, food processor, ice cream maker and beloved pressure cooker are the kitchen gadgets of choice for me.
So what does today’s recipe have to do with the Vorwerk Thermomix? Nothing really, but I guess if you had one you could use it to make your Harira.
Harira is a traditional Ramadan soup eaten daily at Iftar in Morocco accompanied by Chibakias. At home I also try to have it daily during Ramadan and any other fasting day. But it is also great for cold winter days.
(Print this Recipe)
1 medium onion (or 2 small)
About ½ bunch of parsley
About ½ bunch of cilantro
2 or 3 celery sticks
½ lb boneless short rib diced small (any other meat for soup or stew if fine)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp of turmeric (or ½ of Moroccan colorant)
1 ½ tsp powder ginger
About 6 threads of saffron
2 Tbsp smen (aged butter), can substitute for butter or margarine
1 ½ cup lentils, if not using pressure cooker make sure to soak
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1 8oz can tomato sauce
¾ Tbsp flour
1 15oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), soaked and skin removed
About ½ cup broken vermicelli
Salt to taste
A lot of water
In a food processor puree the onion, parsley, cilantro and celery. Put the mixture in a pressure cooker and add meat, cinnamon, black pepper, turmeric, ginger, saffron and smen. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Puree tomatoes in food processor and add to the mixture. Add enough water to cover the mixture, lock pressure cooker’s lid and bring to high pressure over high heat. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 12 minutes. Release pressure according to manufacturer's directions. Remove lid, and add lentils. Again, bring to high pressure and cook for about 7 minutes.
While meat and lentils are cooking, dissolve the tomato paste in about 4 cups of water. Dissolve flour in 4 cups of water and add to dissolved tomato paste. Mix well then pass mixture through a strainer and set aside.
After the meat and lentils have cooked, release pressure according to manufacturer’s directions and if needed move soup base to a larger pot. Add tomato paste/flour mixture, salt, tomato sauce, and about 7 cups of water. Let cook for about 20 minutes over low heat stirring frequently for the lentils not to stick to the bottom.
Taste for salt, add chickpeas which have been previously soaked and the skin removed. Also, add the vermicelli and let cook for about 8 minutes. Always mixing.