Monday, February 15, 2010

Moroccan Tagine with harissa

In my quest to make two vegetarian meals each week, I’ve been turning to Vegetarian food for friends by Jane Noraika, to make dishes Mr. Man will eat without missing meat. I highly recommend this cookbook, especially if you have vegetarian friends and are looking for great entertaining recipes.

Last week I made a fabulous Spanakopita with blue cheese, which we quickly devoured and found ourselves wishing for more—not because we were still hungry, but because they were so damn good. For the second meal, I again turned to Jane’s book to make Moroccan Tagine with harissa and Couscous Fritters. The tagine is a little more time consuming than I’d like for a week night, but since I’m home all day, I can afford to spend more time every once in a while. And I was thrilled to use the coriander seeds we harvested from the garden last spring.

I had a little difficulty with the couscous fritters—mine were not as pretty as the pictures (every recipe is accompanied by a beautiful photograph by William Lingwood)—coming out more fritter-like in shape than the beautiful rounded disks in the book, but they were still delicious. Mr. Man liked them so much that he ate all the leftovers the next day. I couldn’t find the harissa sauce at the supermarket and decided to proceed without it; truthfully, the tagine is so flavorful that I didn’t really miss it, although I bet it adds a great kick to the dish and would have been wonderful drizzled over the fritters. Jane suggests finding it in French or North African gourmet stores if you don’t have time to make your own.

Chickpea Tagine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly toasted in a dry skillet and ground
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 red serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
3 cups canned chopped tomatoes, about 28 oz.
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 oz. dried apricots, soaked overnight, drained and sliced
1/4 cup raisins, soaked overnight, about 1 oz.
1/2 cup black olives, such as Nicoise or Kalamata, pitted, about 3 oz.
1 large baking potato, cut into wedges
8 oz. carrots, thickly sliced, about 2 cups
1/2 small green cabbage, cored, and thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups chickpeas, about 1 lb., soaked overnight, drained, and cooked for 1-1 1/2 hours until tender
a large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
a large bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves 4

*I did not soak either the apricots or the raisins overnight and they were tender and flavorful.
**I used a large can of chickpeas instead of soaking and cooking dry.

Heat half the oil in a large saucepan. Add the red and white onions, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and chile and cook gently for 10 minutes until the onions are softened and translucent. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for 10 minutes. Add the apricots, raisins, olives, potato, and carrots. Continue cooking slowly for about 45 minutes, until the carrots are tender.

Heat the remaining oil in a wok or skillet, add the cabbage and stir-fry until just starting to soften. Add to the saucepan, then add the cooked chickpeas and bring to a boil. Stir in the parsley and cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Harissa Sauce
3 large fresh red chiles
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly toasted in a dry skillet and ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lights roasted in a dry skillet and ground
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon tomato paste
a pinch of salt

Put the chiles in a dry skillet and cook over gentle heat, until the skins begin to blacken and blister. Remove from the heat, let cool, then remove the seeds.

Put the chiles, garlic, coriander, cumin, olive oil, tomato paste, and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Use to taste in this recipe, then keep the remainder for another occasion. (It will keep, sealed in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks).

Couscous Fritters
⅓ cup couscous, about 4 oz.
a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
a small handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
4 oz. feta cheese, cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted in a dry skillet and ground
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 eggs, 1 lightly beaten
¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus extra to coat
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups bread crumbs, made with stale white bread
safflower oil, for sautéing

Put the couscous in a bowl and cover with 1 cup cold water. Let soak for 10 minutes, then fluff it up with a fork. Stir in the parsley, mint, feta, cumin, coriander, turmeric, lemon juice, olive oil, the whole egg, and the salt and pepper. Mix well, then stir in the flour. Shape into 12-14 balls and press slight flat.

Put the beaten egg, extra flour, and bread crumbs onto 3 separate plates. Dip the balls first in the egg, then the flour, then the bread crumbs. Pour ½ inch oil into a skillet and heat until cube of bread will turn golden in 1 minute. Add the fritters in small batches, spacing them well apart in the pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels and keep them warm in a low oven while you cook the remainder. Serve the fritters next to the tagine with harissa sauce sprinkled over the top.

No comments:

Post a Comment