This super flavorful Morrocan tagine is filled with chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and carrots, along with dried apricots, golden raisins, and green olives, topped with cashew yogurt, butter toasted sliced almonds, and freshly chopped cilantro. Serve with pita bread.
2 –3 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced fine
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 inch (2.5 cm) fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted in a dry skillet and ground up
1 tbsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry skillet and ground up
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp Ras el’ Hanout
2 tsps ground turmeric
1 pinch saffron (optional but great to add for flavor)
salt and pepper to taste
1–2 tbsp harissa paste (sub tomato paste if you don’t have harissa)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup (85 g) dried apricots, roughly chopped (golden raisins work well too)
1/2 cup (85 g) golden raisins
3 cups (7 dl) vegetable stock/broth
1 x 28 oz (794 g) can organic chopped tomatoes
2 x 15 oz (500 ml) organic canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup (2.5 dl) green olives (I used Castelvetro), pitted and halved (optional)
zest and juice from 1 lemon
a couple of handfuls of fresh cilantro, chopped plus more for garnish
Sliced almonds, lightly sautéed in butter until golden, for garnish
1 ½ cup (3.5 dl) whole wheat organic couscous
1 ½ cup (3.5 dl) vegetable broth, hot
1 tablespoon olive oil
To prepare couscous:
Place couscous in a medium bowl with a pinch of salt, pour over 1 ½ cups boiling vegetable broth, add in the olive oil and stir quickly with a fork to combine. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. Let sit for 10-15 minutes for the liquid to be absorbed.
Fluff up with a fork and set aside until ready to serve.
To prepare tagine:
In a heavy-duty large pot, add a few drops of good olive oil, add the onions and garlic and a good sprinkle of salt, sauté for a few minutes, then add the spices and saute for another minute, stirring continuously.
Add carrots and sweet potatoes with a large pinch of salt, as well as the harissa paste, and coat all the vegetables with the paste.
Then add vegetable stock, canned tomatoes, chickpeas, apricots, and golden raisins. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cook for about 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender and the stew has thickened.
Finally, add the olives, lemon juice, and zest as well as the fresh chopped cilantro. Cook for another 5 minutes, taste for seasoning.
Serve over warm couscous and garnish with additional cilantro and a lemon wedge.
Ras el’ Hanout is a spice mix found in varying forms in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. The mixture usually consists of over a dozen spices, in different proportions. Commonly used ingredients include cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric.
It plays a similar role in North African cuisine as garam masala does in Indian cuisine. You can find it in most specialty shops or you can order it online from one of my all-time favorite shops, Kalustyans.
Harissa paste is a hot chili paste that originated in Tunisia. This versatile red condiment is sold in tubes and is a blend of different hot chiles combined with garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, and spices like cumin, caraway, and mint.
You might think “why bother” getting these ingredients only for this recipe. But the beauty of both ras el’ hanout and harissa is that you can use them for a variety of dishes to enhance flavors and they will keep forever.