Nothing beats winter comfort food for me more than a fragrant spiced Moroccan vegetable tagine. It’s bowl food that can be simply eaten on its own or as part of a feast for friends and family and it satisfies my seemingly bottomless pit of a stomach during the chilly winter months. The root veggies in this tagine add a sweetness that is so ubiquitous in Moroccan cuisine and the apricots and preserved lemon add extra layers of flavour that take these humble veggies out of the ordinary into the extraordinary. Make double and freeze if you please and you will have delectable lunches for the week!
4 large carrots – peeled and sliced thickly
450g Sweet potato (I prefer the orange flesh type) – peeled and chopped to be same size pieces as the carrot
1 small onion finely sliced
2 tbsp Olive Oil or Ghee for frying the onion
1 thumb sized piece fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1 large capsicum pepper – red or yellow
1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned will do – but I soak and boil mine as they have a better texture – canned ones tend to be mushy)
50g Chopped dried apricots
2 tbsp Tagine Spice* see below
½ a chopped preserved lemon or 2-3 tbsp chopped preserved lemon
250ml vegetable stock
Fresh coriander to serve
Salt & pepper to taste
Serve with flat breads or couscous
In a Tagine base or cast iron (or any heavy based quality pot) heat the oil or ghee and fry the onions for 5 mins till translucent and starting tobrowning.
(If you are using a tagine base you need to have a heat diffuser on the hob or you can damage the tagine)
Add your garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 mins
Add your carrots first and a pinch of salt and cover the pot so as to steam the carrots a bit first as they take longer to cook than the sweet potato.
After 5 mins or so add the rest of your ingredients except the fresh coriander and the stock – stir thoroughly and saute for about 5 more minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring up to a simmer covering the pot with a lid and leaving for 40 mins on a very gentle heat. Check in after 20 mins to give the vegetables a stir and season to taste.
Once the vegetables are cooked serve the tagine up with fresh coriander, flatbreads and any other mezze you like. I also love to sprinkle pul biber or Aleppo pepper over my tagine as it is packed with flavour but not too hot.