I am unsure if I should call it a tagine since I did not use the tagine. A tagine is a clay pot used predominantly in North Africa in order to make Stews. Now, I did not use a tagine but I did make a hell of a stew. Usually served with couscous, I was lucky enough to find whole wheat couscous. There are certain spices that I have omitted and replaced as they can be hard to find but are typically used in Moroccan dishes such as Ras El Hanout and Saffran. As we get into the details of this recipe, you may notice that I enjoy the Moroccan base flavours but I do enjoy my spicy food. Thus, the extra kick.
In Tagines & Couscous, cookbook author Ghillie Basan traces the flavours of the Moroccan tagine.
“Although originally a Berber dish, the tagine has evolved with the history as waves of Arab and Ottoman invaders, Moorish refugees from Andalusia and French colonialists have left their influences on the cuisine. Classic tagines include combinations of lamb with dried prunes or apricots; chicken with preserved lemon and green olives; duck with dates and honey; and fish cooked with tomatoes, lime, and cilantro.”
Therefore, if you enjoy mixing sweet and savory or fruits and spices, you will love this recipe. By the way, using a big pot with a lid will also do the trick. If you do not own a tagine, you will still get great results.
Let’s get our hands dirty and into the details:
- 1 tbsp., Coriander Seeds
- 1 tbsp., Cumin
- 1 tbsp. Crushed red pepper or Cayenne
- 1 tbsp. Turmeric
- Himalayan Salt (to your taste)
- 2 tsps. Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. Ginger (dry)
- 2 tbsps. Olive oil
- 1 can Crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup Dried apricots
- 1/2 cup, Dried Raisins
- 3 tbsps. Harissa (Spicy pepper and vegetable spread)
- 1 small bunch, Parsley
- 3-4 small bunches, Cilantro
- 2-3 sprigs of Mint
- 1 Red Onion, minced
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can of Chickpeas
- 3 Zucchini
- 3 branches of Celery
- 2 Sweet Potatoes or Yams
- 1/3 Cauliflower Head
- 3 cups of Butternut squash or Pumpkin
- 1-2 Tomatoes
- Mix all of the spices and split it 2/3 for the meat mix. For the first 2/3, mix the paprika, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander seeds, salt, ginger, garlic, 1/2 fresh coriander, lemon zest and oil in a plastic food bag with the meat. Marinate it overnight or for several hours, in the fridge.
- On Medium-High heat, mix in olive oil and chopped onion, garlic and celery for about 3 minutes. Sautee until brown, then add meat until brown on all sides.
- Add diced tomatoes, diced sweet potato/yam, cauliflower flowerets, diced butternut squash or pumpkin, dried apricots, raisins, chickpeas and harissa into the meat mix. Mix for an even coat of spices.
- Bring to a Boil and back to Medium Low heat. Add a can crushed tomato + a can of water and mix it in.
- Top the pot with Carrot and Zucchini slices/sticks around the circumference of the pot.
- Bring to the boil and back to Low heat. The carrots and zucchinis should be 1/2 in sauce and 1/2 uncovered. Once it is cooked it will be fully immerse in the sauce as the other vegetables cook down. This will take about 1 hour.
- Next, simply cook some couscous to accompany the tagine and besseha! (Bon appetit in Moroccan dialect)