Sunday, August 8, 2010

Experimenting with Cuisines: Moroccan Food

This week's box contained:
  • Chantenay Carrots
  • Sweet Corn
  • Red Cabbage
  • Desiree Potatoes
  • Bunched Parsley Root
  • Melons
  • Strawberries
  • Lettuce (traded for more parsley root)
Having just finished LuLu in Marrakech, I took my inspiration for the week from Morocco.  If you've never tried it, Moroccan food is exceptional.  Intensely flavorful, simple to prepare and, for the most part, really healthy.

I happen to have a tagine pot that I look after for a Moroccan friend.  I decided to put it to use for dinner tonight and made a mixed vegetable tagine, loosely based on a recipe from the BBC's Good Food site.

Making a tagine is easy and can be done on the stove top in a Dutch oven or a small stockpot. The process is as follows:

  • Saute aromatics (onions, garlic, and the like) in olive oil,
  • Add the spices and stir till fragrant,
  • Add a can of diced tomatoes,
  • Add a mixture diced vegetables and beans
  • Add a cup of water, mix well, then
  • Cover and simmer till the vegetables are tender
Serve over couscous.  The variations are endless.  Tagines are really a braise, so anything you'd consider cooking that way can apply here.  The Moroccan spices are heavenly and well worth a go, but the cooking technique lends itself to any flavor variation.

Seasonal Vegetable Tagine
... serves 4 generously as a main course

2 small carrots, diced
2 small turnips, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2t  agave nectar
4t  ras el hanout
3 T harissa
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute the onions in olive oil over medium heat till translucent; add minced garlic and stir till fragrant.  Add spices and stir till fragrant.  Toss the prepared vegetables and chickpeas together, then place in the base of a tagine. Top with tomato mixture, add water and cover.  Bake, covered, for 1 hour stirring occasionally.

Other Moroccan recipes I'd like to try include:

Kitty Morse is well known in the US for her Moroccan cookbooks. I've just ordered The Vegetarian Table: North Africa and am anxiously awaiting the book expected from Mourad Lahlou of Aziza in San Francisco.  More Moroccan food to follow!

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