Without question, the best couscous and tagine I’ve ever eaten was back in 1984 in Paris. We had gotten lost in the area near the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery where we visited Jim Morrison’s grave, when we came upon a tiny restaurant from which the heavenly aromas of North African cuisine wafted through the air. I still remember that lunch!
Since Paris is a bit far to travel for couscous I make my own. It’s perhaps not entirely authentic, but it sure tastes yummy. The farm market has been overflowing with lots of great veggies grown right here in our area and I’ve been enjoying going there to pick up the kinds of veggies that really taste best when in season. So if you make this tagine, use locally grown produce. Leftovers keep and re-heat well!
Have all the spices ready and cut all the veggies into bite-size pieces before you start.
Moroccan Vegetable Tagine
- olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 to 2 tablespoons harissa
- 1/2 cup raisins or chopped dried apricots
- 2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 2 to 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 carrots
- 2 small zucchini
- 1 small eggplant
- 1/2 a small cauliflower
- a few new small potatoes
- 1 cup green beans
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 or 2 ears of corn
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- a handful of green onions
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 fresh lemon or lime
In a heavy, deep pan heat a splash of olive oil.
When hot add the onions and sauté until they turn soft and golden.
Lower the heat and then add the minced garlic and spices.
Stir well and sauté until everything is fragrant.
Next add the dried fruit.
Add the chopped tomatoes and a pinch or two of salt.
Cook for a few minutes to let the flavors mingle.
Now add the potatoes, carrots and eggplant. Stir and turn up the heat a bit.
Pour enough of the vegetable broth over the veggies to cover them.
Bring to a boil and then simmer partially covered over low heat for about 10 minutes.
Now add the cauliflower and green beans.
Mix the vegetables gently and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Finally add the zucchini, corn and bell pepper.
Stir again and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Add the chopped cilantro and thinly sliced green onion.
Stir and simmer for another minute or two.
Right before serving add some fresh lemon or lime juice.
This stew is generally served alongside couscous,
but rice, quinoa or perhaps even fresh pita bread are other options.