because what is life without good food?

Moroccan Ham, Lentil and Chickpea Stew

a.k.a. “Gypsy Stew” (thanks to my friend Melissa at ChinDeep for this name!)

Moroccan Ham Lentil and Chickpea Stew

To me, the treasure when making a ham is the ham bone. Because that means we get to make soup. There is something about a ham bone that gives a soup such good flavor. The ham is nice, too, but I the part I really covet is that bone. You just can’t get that same kind of flavor any other way.

I confess I stole the ham bone from our Christmas ham. I didn’t ask if I could take it, I just took it. I know what my mom would have said. I always ask her what she wants me to take, and she always tells me to take whatever I like … I’m not sure my dad wouldn’t have fought me for it, though. A ham bone is seriously something to fight over in my family.

I call this stew “Moroccan” not because it’s an authentic Moroccan recipe, but because the seasonings are sort of like what you would find in a Moroccan Harira … except a Moroccan Harira would be made with lamb. I am sure the Moroccans would be horrified if I called this Harira or that I even used ham in this stew, but it was the spices in the Harira recipe in my Mediterranean cookbook that helped me season my pretty orange-red soup. Someday I ought to actually go to Morocco and taste the Harira.

Moroccan Ham Lentil and Chickpea Stew

Moroccan Ham, Lentil and Chickpea Stew

  • 1 cup chopped celery stalk (save the leaves, too!)
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ham bone, trimmed roughly
  • 1/4 cup juices from cooking the ham (skim off the fat and scoop up some of the jellied stuff that collects at the bottom of the ham pan)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup lentils (I used red lentils, but you could use green or brown ones too)
  • 2/3 cup dried chickpeas
  • 7 cups of water
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes with juices
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more to taste)
  • For garnish: fresh parsley


  1. In a stockpot saute the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in the olive oil over medium-high heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the garnish and the leaves from the celery), bring to a boil and cook until the lentils and chickpeas are soft and the flavors have melded. This might take an hour or two or longer … I’m not sure exactly how long I cooked mine as I just got it started and let it cook while I was doing other things.
  3. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, and more ham if you like. Personally, I like more vegies and beans than meat, but go ahead and add meat if that is your heart’s desire.
  4. If you want to reduce the fat in your soup, chill it overnight, then skim off the fat that collects on the top.
  5. About 15 minutes before serving, chop the celery leaves and add to the pot.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

Moroccan Ham Lentil and Chickpea Stew

This recipe was shared on Tastetastic ThursdaysFull Plate Thursdays, Cast Party WednesdaysRecipe of the Week: Healthy/Low Cal Recipes, Sunday Night Soup Night, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop.


10 responses

  1. What a hearty winter soup! The flavors sound wonderful.

    December 29, 2011 at 7:05 pm

  2. Your stew looks awesome! I just love the combination of flavors and ingredients in this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Happy New Year to you and your family and Abundant Blessings in 2012!
    Miz Helen

    December 31, 2011 at 11:21 am

  3. Pingback: Lady Behind the Curtain » Party Round Up – Lunch ( from Cast Party Wednesday #22)

  4. This soup looks delicious!! I’m a big fan of the hambone too, in fact I used the hambone from our Christmas ham to make split pea soup just a couple days ago! Thanks for sharing this with Sunday Night Soup Night, look forward to seeing you again soon!

    January 18, 2012 at 12:20 am

  5. I just tweeted this soup as one of my favorites from Sunday Night Soup Night! Thanks for linking up and hope to see you again soon:)

    January 18, 2012 at 4:52 pm

  6. Melody DeGray

    What if you dont have the jelly at the bottom of the pan? Would it be just as flavorful??

    March 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    • Ann

      Hi Melody,

      The soup will still be good … the jelly gives it a little extra ham flavor.

      Thanks for visiting!


      March 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm

  7. Melody DeGray

    Thanks! Gonna try it tonight:)

    March 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm

  8. Ann

    Oh I am so excited! That just makes my day when someone tries one of my recipes … you may need to add a little salt or swap out some of the water with chicken broth to make up for the saltiness in the ham jelly. I hope you like it!:)

    March 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm

  9. This is very similar to what I make but I don’t use the ham bone. I look forward to trying this recipe out. Cheers and check out some of my recipes on the blog.. Mr.CBB

    September 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm

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