Monday, November 18, 2013

Tagine of Fall Vegetables

Tagines are stews that are Moroccan in origin, usually cooked in a clay pot. Lacking a clay pot, I cooked mine in a covered enameled cast iron pot. The spice mix is a mixture of sweet, savory, and spicy and pairs beautifully with the fall vegetables. I had to play with the spiciness several times before I came up with a taste that pleased most of our household palates. I think this one does so quite nicely.


1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 cup water or white wine (if needed)

1 pound peeled, seeded, and cubed orange squash, butternut or kuri
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch lengths
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch lengths
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can stewed tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup sweetened, dried cranberries
1 pinch saffron
1 bay leaf
1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or cilantro


Heat the olive oil in a heavy cast iron or enameled cast iron pot. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and spices and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the water or white wine if the onion begins to stick to the pan. Add the squash, sweet potato, carrots, celery, red pepper, and chickpeas. Strain the tomato juice into the pot, then chop the tomatoes into a dice before adding to the cooking pot. Add the cranberries, saffron, bay leaf and red pepper flakes, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer, then continue to cook for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are just cooked. Taste the tagine and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper. If you use salt free tomatoes, you may need to use a larger amount of salt. Conversely, if you use tomatoes packed in salted juice, you might not need any salt. Taste as you go. Serve topped with parsley or cilantro.

This dish is typically served with couscous.

This is a wonderful make ahead dish. It keeps well in the refrigerator for several days, and seems to profit with reheating.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Adjust the seasoning to you and your families taste buds. The first time I served this, I was less aggressive with the seasoning and it didn't go over very well. My family likes it hot! I adjusted the heat, and voila! Everything's good.

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