Tagine, the name of both the cooking vessel and the national dish of Morocco, is typically a stew with vegetables and spices, served with couscous. The curious pot, with its bowl-shaped bottom and conical lid, makes sense: It’s designed to allow just the right amount of steam to escape through the hole in the top and condensation to drip back down into the stew simmering below. But you don’t need a tagine to cook a great tagine; any deep skillet or Dutch oven with a snug-fitting lid will do.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
- 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots, dates, or raisins
- 1½ cups chopped ripe tomato (about 1 pound whole, preferably peeled and seeded, or drained canned)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup cooked or drained canned chickpeas
- 2 medium carrots, cut into bite-size chunks
- ½ head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 zucchini, cut into bite-sized chunks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup pearl couscous
1. Put the oil in a deep skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 2 minutes.
2. Add the dried fruit, tomato, stock, chickpeas, carrots, cauliflower, and zucchini, a large pinch of salt, and a good amount of pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are just tender. (The dish can be made ahead to this point, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring it to a simmer before proceeding.)
3. Add the couscous and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. It should have a stewy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and then reheat.
Pearl Couscous Tagine with Caramelized Butternut Squash.
Replace the apricots with pitted prune, and the chickpeas with ½ cup mixed almonds and chopped Preserved Lemons . Omit the carrots, cauliflower, and zucchini. Add a medium (about 1 pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices. In Step 1, cook the butternut squash in the oil until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Add the onion once you’ve flipped the squash to cook the other side. Proceed with recipe.
This recipe serves 6, includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving, and does not include vegetable stock. For nutritional information on vegetable stock, please follow the link above.