Moroccan tagine with root vegetables [Vegan]
For this recipe, I skipped the dates because we wanted to skip the sugar. It certainly lent to a spicier flavor, as we didn't have the sweet to cut it, but it was delicious any way. I also used a serrano pepper instead of a red chilli simply because that's what was at the market when I picked up the ingredients. I tossed in a few red pepper flakes for good measure as well.
Because my partner and I are not vegan, and because I made it pretty spicy, we decided a dollop of yogurt is a must when we have the leftovers. For anyone who doesn't mind some dairy, a bit of tart yogurt would be great as a garnish for this dish. Also, we thought that adding in some slivered almonds would be great for texture and a bit of nutty flavor to add to the citrus and spice.
Though I cut recipe in half, it still made enough for 5 large servings. So if you keep the ingredients as is, plan on feeding a lot of people or having a lot of leftovers!
More on The Cooking Project.
I made some preserved lemons earlier this year and I've been patiently awaiting the time that I could open them up and use them. It's been about six weeks, so I decided that this was the week to try them out. I was having the family for dinner, so that means a 91 year old mother-in-law who expects meat, a husband and daughter who will eat anything and a son and his girlfriend who are vegetarian.
Of course, I wanted to make something Moroccan with the preserved lemons, so a tagine seemed in order, but given the constraints, I decided to make two different recipes for the evening. I made this vegetarian tagine, but I also made a chicken tagine and surprisingly enough, the two vegetarians kept scooping the onions and olives out of it, because it was so delicious.
This is a nice recipe to make at this time of the year where I live, a bit of a goodbye to celeriac for the season, anticipating the spring vegetables that will hopefully be coming in this week or next in Toronto. If you don't have preserved lemons, you could add some lemon juice and lemon zest. It won't be the same as using pickled lemons at all, but you'll still get a citrus flavour. I used the preserved lemon peel for this. If you can grind the spices yourself that's great, but if not, just use pre-ground spices, but cut the amounts down a bit. The recipe calls for the dates to be pureed, but that's too much like work, so I just chopped them up hand and it was fine. Serve this over couscous, which only takes a few minutes to make.
Moroccan Root Vegetable Tagine
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 tsp cloves
3 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
3 1/2 ounces ginger, grated
1 red chili, seeded and chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cans tomatoes, chopped
1 sweet potato, halved and sliced
2 fennel bulbs, cut into batons
1 celeriac root, cut into batons
1/2 bunch spinach
handful of cilantro, chopped
4-5 dates, chopped
1/4 preserved lemon peel, chopped
1. Toast the cinnamon sticks, cloves and seeds in a dry frying pan until their aroma rises. Grind finely using a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder.
2. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy saucepan and stir the spices, including the turmeric, in it briefly. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes, then add the ginger, chili and garlic. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the flavours are well blended. Add the tomatoes, dates and all the vegetables, except the spinach. Cover the pan and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes
3. Fold the spinach and cilantro into the vegetable tagine, season to taste. Sprinkle with preserved lemons and serve over couscous.