1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup lentils
1 stalk celery, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1# chicken, lamb or beef, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/3 to 1/2 cup all purpose flour
8 large lemon wedges (optional)
16 dried dates (optional)
Place everything in a large soup pot except the tomato paste and flour. Add 16 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. When the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer or boil slowly until the chickpeas and beef or lamb are tender, 45 to 60 minutes.
When the chickpeas and meat are tender, add the tomato paste. Stir to combine, season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk together 2 cups water and the flour making sure you don't have any lumps. Bring the soup to a boil and add the water and flour mixture. Simmer 10 minutes.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with lemon wedges and dates.