What is tagine?
A tajine or tagine is a North African dish named after the ceramic pot in which it is cooked. The shape of the pot was designed to allow food to simmer gently while cooking over low heat (much like a slow cooker), and retain moisture by sealing in condensation.
Spring Vegetable Tagine
This unique dish is a simple and quick vegetarian version of Moroccan tagine, which combines vegetables, sweet dried apricots, and exotic spices. It is served over couscous, a grain dish made from semolina wheat that is a staple food of North Africa and developed by some of the first inhabitants of Morocco, the Berbers. Look for whole wheat couscous at the market for a less refined dish.
- 1 Tbs avocado oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 piece ginger, about 1-inch, peeled and minced
- 5 cups vegetable stock, divided
- 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 2 large carrots, medium roll cut
- 1/4 tsp cumin, ground
- 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- nutmeg, freshly grated, to taste
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 large Yukon potatoes, 1/2″ cubes
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced, [i]Turkish if available[/i]
- 1 bunch asparagus, bottom of stems removed, cut into 1″ slices
- 1 cup peas, shelled, fresh or frozen (thawed)
- 2 cups whole wheat couscous
- olive oil, for drizzling
- 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 Tbs harissa
- sea salt, to taste
- black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- Heat a medium stockpot over medium heat. Heat oil and add onion. Cook until softened and lightly golden, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and stir for another minute.
- Stir in 2 cups of stock, tomatoes, carrots, cumin, paprika, turmeric, saffron, nutmeg, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, covered.
- Add potatoes and dried apricots, continuing to simmer 5-7 more minutes. Add asparagus and simmer 5 more minutes. Add peas for an additional minute or until bright green.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring remaining 3 cups of stock to a boil. Stir in couscous and drizzle in a little olive oil. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand until all of the stock is absorbed, about 7 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
- Just before serving, add cilantro, lemon juice, and harissa to the stewed vegetables. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper as necessary, and serve over the hot couscous. Remove cinnamon stick before serving.