Chick Pea, Apricot and Almond Tagine

This dinner will fill your home with the heavy aromas of Moroccan cooking. Perfect for a grey January day in the UK! The key to a good flavour is the north africain blend of spices called  Ras el hanout (Arabic: راس الحانوت).  The name means ‘top of the shop’ in Arabic and refers to a mixture of the best spices the seller has to offer. There is no definitive set combination of spices that makes up Ras el hanout. Each shop, restaurant, or cook would have their own favourite combination. Typically they would include cardamom, clove, cinnamon, chilli peppers, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, pepper and turmeric.  Apparently some recipes include over one hundred ingredients, some rarely found in Western food, such as ash berries, chufa, Grains of Paradise, orris root, Monk’s pepper, cubebs or dried rosebud. One recipe I saw had dried Damascan rose petals  in it! Usually all the ingredients are toasted and then ground up together. You can use Ras el hanout in many types of food; as a rub on burgers or and stirred into soup.

A  tagine (Berber: tajin) is a dish from North Africa that is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. The traditional tagine pot is made of heavy clay which is sometimes  glazed. It is made up of two parts: a flat and circular bowl with low sides and a large dome-shaped lid that covers the base during cooking.  Until I get a tagine I have to make do with my cast iron pot, but that works very well. I made up this recipe for this using leftover vegetables I had hanging around in the fridge.

  • Small splash veg oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 carrots
  • ½ a butternut squash
  • ½ a large sweet potato
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 10-12 dried apricots, halved
  • 1 can chick peas, drained
  • 100g almonds, blanched, peeled and toasted
  • Large handful fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped

Chop all the vegetables to the same size and add to a hot pan and fry in a small splash of veg oil. Keep turning the vegetables until just beginning to colour. Add the spices and reduce the heat and leave to cook for a further 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, apricots and chick peas and cook for a further 20 mins or until all the vegetables are soft. Throw in the almonds and the coriander and serve with a large bowl of cous cous and some Harissa sauce.

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One Response to Chick Pea, Apricot and Almond Tagine

  1. Pingback: Moroccan Ratatouille | justbloggs

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