I love to experiment with different flavors, ethnic cuisines & foods from all over the world. After hearing Cat Cora talk about a tagine being one of her fav dishes, I had to see what all the hoopla was about. I researched online & found a lot of tagine recipes, then took the general principles and adapted the recipes to my own taste and food preferences. I made it first with beef, as I had friends coming for dinner who think that it isn't a meal if there isn't meat! The second time, I went vege. Guess what? I preferred the vege version! Seriously yummy - the heat, sweet, spices & acid all combine together to make a wonderful dish that has a just a bit of heat (you can add more if you like). You could eat the whole pot and still not go over dieting limits, as it is wholly plant based & includes whole grains & legumes. Super good & reallllly super good for you. High in anti-oxidants and fiber!
Heat oil in the bottom of a large Dutch oven, tagine clay pot (or slow cooker). Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger, celery, chili (if using) & carrot and cook in the oil until beginning to get translucent & most of the water has cooked off. Add the spices, which have been premixed in a small bowl & stir. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, chickpeas, vege broth, bouillon paste, wine & lentils (if using). Wash & cut the leaves off the cilantro, chop & reserve to top the tagine with prior to serving. Rough chop the stems of the cilantro & add to stew. Allow to cook 15-20 minutes while you prep the rest of the veges. Add ‘shrooms, eggplant, squash, sweet potato, dried fruit, honey, lemon zest & lemon juice. Add pepper (I used about a Tb of the Tellicherry regular grind). Cover & cook on low simmer for ~ 30-45” until veges are tender. Taste & adjust seasonings if necessary – add salt and if needed for heat, chipotle powder or cayenne. Serve over whole grain or couscous with side of flatbread, toasted in oven with a little EVOO. A handful of toasted slivered almonds on top give a nice crunch & a Tb or so of chopped fresh cilantro gives it a wonderful freshness. Freezes well & keeps well in fridge for at least a week. A bit of chopping’s involved, but it makes a boatload – make it, freeze in individual containers already over the grain & you have an instant, homemade quick frozen meal!
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