Friday, February 20, 2009
A friend of mine described me the other day as a "part-time vegetarian" which is an accurate description of my approach to food and eating. And I feel that this tagine, in some way, encapsulates that idea. It is a take on the Moroccan classic, well spiced and flavorful without being fussy. We opted to add chicken, as I was cooking with my more carnivorous family, but the recipe actually comes from a vegetarian cookbook (we very loosely interpreted it from New Vegetarian Entertaining by Jane Noraika. Ironic, I know. And honestly, it was perfect. And would have been perfect sans chicken. It makes a lot, and the leftovers are just as tasty. I can't wait to make it again. And again.
I am including a recipe for homemade harissa as well, but we used a canned harissa I had on hand. A warning - it is hot stuff!! Use sparingly.
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground turmeric (I found the best ever bargain on turmeric - 50 cents an ounce - at Polcari's, in Boston's North End)
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 red serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped
3 cups canned diced tomatoes, about 28 ounces
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup black olives (we used kalamata) pitted and chopped
1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 can chickpeas
2 chicken breasts, optional
1. if using chicken, slice in strips, and brown in 4 quart saute pan. remove from pan.
2. add more oil to the pan, and onions and spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon) and the chile, and cook until the onions are softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for 10 minutes. And the currants, olives, potato and carrots. Continue cooking slowly over low heat for about 45 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
3. return the chicken to pan (if using) along with chickpeas, and bring to a boil. Sauce should reduce slightly.
4. Stir in parsley and cilantro, season with salt and pepper. Serve over couscous, and drizzle with harissa.
3 large fresh red chilis
1 garlic clove
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp tomato paste
pinch of salt
1. Put the chilis in a dry skillet and cook over gentle heat until the skins begin to blacken and blister. Remove from heat, let cool, and remove the seeds.
2. Put the chilis and remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Sauce will keep, refrigerated, for 2 to 3 weeks.