This week’s recipe is vegetarian but is also works really well as a base to which you could add pieces of chicken or fish instead of a selection of vegetables. I realise as I’m writing this that I hadn’t noted any quantities as I cooked this the other day. It doesn’t matter though, its not a recipe where you need to be precise. Use as many different vegetables as you like.
It’s not a spicy hot tagine, the spices are aromatic, so if you like a little heat add a pinch of cayenne or chilli.
1 onion, peeled and diced
1-2 carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
About 1 tbsp ras-el-hanout
About 1 tsp each of ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger
1 preserved lemon, flesh discarded, skin diced
1 tin of crushed tomatoes
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
Handful of pitted prunes
Handful of dried apricots, halved if large
1-2 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
A selection of vegetables cut into medium-large chunks eg carrots, pumpkin, kumara, aubergine, courgettes, red and yellow peppers, cauliflower
Chopped coriander as garnish
Heat the oven to 180°C. Place your choice of vegetables on an oven tray and cook till nearly soft. Timing will depend on how large or small you’ve cut the pieces. Don’t overcook otherwise they’ll fall apart and go mushy once added to the sauce. Depending on which vegetables you use, you may need to cook them on separate trays as some cook more quickly than others.
Heat a little olive oil in a pot and add the diced carrots, onion and celery. Cook till soft but not too brown. Add the garlic and spices, stir in and cook a further minute.
Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, preserved lemon, prunes and a little salt and pepper.
Top with vegetable stock – add as much or as little as you want depending on how thick you want this sauce. Gently simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the apricots after about 15 minutes. When the oven cooked vegetables are ready, gently add them to the sauce and cook for another few minutes. Add more stock if you need to.
Serve with couscous and garnish with lots of coriander.