The last time I shared a tagine recipe was at Christmas and today (Easter) I am turning towards a tagine again. Not a lot has changed, I have still over indulged during the holiday; I still don’t own one of those beautiful conical-shaped cooking dishes that lends its name to this dish and I always turn to vegetables when I need to recover from over indulgence.
So here we are it is Spring and we have had a run of fine weather which is exciting. The blossom and Spring blooms are looking beautiful and we have spent hours in our local parks realising how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful place. Small boy broke his arm in readiness for the Easter holiday so we changed our plans so instead of a week in Cornwall we stayed at home which gave us time to catch up with friends, which has been wonderful and great fun but always means we eat and drink far too much. I hate to think what shape my liver is in at the moment! The Other Half has announced that she is Vegetarian since the last time I wrote which is happily fitting family life just fine. The Small People and I are still eating meat but we are tending to pick the vegetarian option for ourselves too. We are lucky enough to have a veg box delivered by Riverford Organic Farm each week. My Friday is always made as the box arrives and I put all the wonderful vegetables away. The greens always get hoovered up quickly but often items like butternut squash and sweet potatoes tend to languish in the bottom of the pantry as they are not my favourite veg. Today as I was putting the veg away I realised we now have three butternut squash, and two weeks worth of courgettes – hence the decision to make a tagine the recipe of which I was inspired by the wonderful Green Kitchen Stores cook book.
This is an easy dish and needs just enough chopping and pottering in the kitchen before allowing the dish to putter away pervading the kitchen with mouth-watering smells which hopefully will encourage the Small People to eat it without too much nagging from Mama! Serve it with couscous (rice, quinoa or bulgar if you prefer) sprinkled with some chopped mint; almonds or pistachios and pomegranate seeds if you so wish. As with all the recipes I waffle on about – feel free to swap and change the ingredients or add more spices to your taste.
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp ground cinnamon (yes that does say tablespoon)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp rose harissa (or ordinary if you like it hotter)
juice and zest of a lemon
large handful of chopped coriander
2 x tins tomatoes
1 x small butternut squash
3 x carrots
2 x sweet potato
2 x courgettes
10 or so apricots (unsulphured are better for you)
1 x tin of chickpeas
a handful of olives
So begin by sautéing the onion in a few glugs of olive oil. When it is soft add the crushed garlic and spices and stir for a minute or so (don’t burn the spices). Then add the coriander, zest and juice of the lemon and the tin of tomatoes, wash out the tins with a half tin of water to get all the juice out and add this to the pan. Bring this to the boil.
In the meantime clean and prep the veg by chopping it into 5cm chunks. Turn the tomato sauce down to low and add all the veg and sliced apricots. Mix everything together and cook on a low heat for approximately an hour – giving it a stir every now and then.
When the veg is just tender add the chickpeas and olives – cook for a further 5 minutes, check seasoning and balance of flavours, adjust accordingly and serve.
Of course you can make it in advance – just don’t over cook the veg originally so when reheated they are tender and not turned to mush. (Trust me on this – I just overcooked it whilst getting sidetracked with my current favourite box set!)
Oh Vegetarians look away – I have just thought that a pile of griddled lamb chops sprinkled with zaatar would be wonderful with this!