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Moroccan Potato Soup with Za'atar (Wild Thyme or Oregano) and Cumin

User Rating 4 Star Rating (1 Review)


Moroccan Potato Soup with Za'atar (Wild Thyme or Oregano) and Cumin

Moroccan Potato Soup with Za'atar

Photo © Christine Benlafquih

This zesty, fragrant potato soup is prepared with a creamy base of stock and milk. Puree all or half of the soup for thicker texture. Carrots are optional. Use vegetable stock rather than chicken for a vegetarian preparation.

The recipe calls for Moroccan za'atar, an indigenous herb in the thyme and oregano family. Although you can substitute regular dried thyme or oregano, the use of fresh herbs is recommended for heartier, rustic flavor. If using dried herbs, reduce the quantity to one teaspoon and add it to the soup in step two below.

Cumin is a popular Moroccan seasoning for potatoes. Although I don't add cumin to the soup while it's cooking, I do enjoy a small amount dusted on top as a garnish.

Also try Moroccan Chicken and Potato Soup with Herbs.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 to 10 servings


  • 5 tablespoons (70 g) butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 or 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • ------------------------------------------
  • 5 tablespoons (70 g) flour
  • 4 cups (1 liter) milk
  • 4 cups (1 liter) chicken or vegetable stock
  • ------------------------------------------
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ------------------------------------------
  • 6 medium potatoes (1275 g), peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh za'atar, thyme or oregano
  • -------------------------------------------
  • salt
  • pepper
  • bouillon cubes or powder
  • cumin, for garnish


1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small (6 quart) stockpot. Add the onions, celery and garlic (and carrots if using) and saute for several minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for several minutes more, stirring frequently.

2. Gradually whisk in the milk, taking care to blend the mixture until smooth before each addition. Stir in the broth, spices and bay leaf and increase the heat to high to bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to let the milk boil over.

3. Add the potatoes, bay leaf and fresh herbs. Continue simmering the soup, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If fuller flavor is desired, add chicken or vegetable bouillon in small increments.

4. The soup can be served as-is, or, if desired, you can process the entire batch of soup to a puree. My own preference is to puree half the soup and return it to the pot, stirring to blend well. Allowing the pureed soup to rest for 15 minutes or longer before serving, stirring occasionally, will help smooth out the grainy potato texture.

5. Serve the soup warm or hot. Cumin may be offered as a garnish. I find the soup to be particulary satisfying with broken pieces of Moroccan bread (khobz) added directly to the bowl.

User Reviews

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 4 out of 5
Will Make This Again, Member ummadam

I made this soup for dinner tonight. My husband and I thought it was delicious. I made it with carrots and vegetable stock. I used thyme because I am in the US and can't get Za'atar. I also pureed half of the soup and returned it to the pot. It was the perfect dinner on this rainy, dreary day! And definitely satisfying enough as a main course. Thank you!

2 out of 2 people found this helpful.

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