Tuesday, April 21, 2015

North African Date Tagine

I feel kind of like a fraud for posting this recipe for a tagine, because I don't really know what a tagine is.  I am not even 100% sure how to say it.  I checked a very trustworthy website (Wikipedia) and found that a tagine is indeed North African, and is most similar to a stew.  It's also the name of the pot that tagines are cooked in; they sort of look like funnels that get buried under coals to cook.  They're actually kind of beautiful and I want one.

The good news is that you can still make tagines whether you own a tagine pot or not.  The reason this is good news is that tagines are delicious!  Spicy, flavorful, a little sweet, and fragrant, there's nothing not to like in this dish.  Mark and I were both big fans when I made it for dinner, and it reheated wonderfully for lunch.

It has chickpeas to fill you up, lovely spices like curry, cilantro and cinnamon, and chopped dates to give you a little sweet bite every now and then (the recipe said to cut them into quarters but I think they'd be too big and bossy that way).  And you could probably serve anything over couscous and I'd eat it.  Don't skip adding the lemon juice at the end - it somehow ties everything all together.


North African date tagine
from Meatless Monday
serves 6

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 large onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed, or 2 teaspoons powdered or granulated garlic
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups garbanzo beans, dried (or 2 15-ounce cans)
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups whole wheat couscous
3/4 cup dates, pitted and chopped
juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
1 teaspoon salt


1) To prepare garbanzo beans from scratch, soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.  Drain and rinse beans, then add to a large stockpot and fill with water to cover the beans by at least 6 inches.  Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Drain and rinse.

2) Sauté onion in oil in medium saucepan, stirring often, until it begins to brown, 6 - 8 minutes.  Add garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, and cilantro.  Sauté for 1 minute longer.  Add tomato, garbanzo beans, and 1/4 cup water.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes longer.

3) In the meantime, prepare the couscous by bringing 4 cups of water to a simmer in medium saucepan.  Add couscous and return to boil, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

4) Add dates, salt, and lemon juice to the tagine, stirring thoroughly.  Serve over couscous.

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