recipes and tips for better living

Monday, January 4, 2010

Stew On This: Yam, Shallot, Carrot & Prune Tagine..A Simple Moroccan Cuisine



Still hooked on The Melting Pot and mom's old fondu set? Last year's 70's revival of the fondu pot seemed all the rage, lining the kitchen isles at all your fave department stores. Who doesn't love the decadent idea of bread and cheese on fun sticks for dinner and a chocolate fountain served with strawberries and cookies for dessert? Finger food for adults? It sounds all too dream like. It seemed i couldn't go into a kitchen department that didn't have one of these cool looking little sets in it. I wanted one, sure, but i knew i'd never really use it....so i walked by. Don't get me wrong, i love cheese and more importantly i love chocolate...especially a chocolate dipped strawberry, but really will i use it to dine regulary on bread and cheese? Not happening here. So shift into the new year folks...2010 is offering us even more fabulous international kitchen appliance offerings, such as the Moroccan tagine. Tagines have been around for years, but for some reason just like fondus pots last year, they are budding up everywhere. All the rage now Ikea, Sur la Table, and Williams Sonoma all got theirs, and now i've got mine too! Good ol' St. Nick left it for me (along with my xmas muffin top) probably to make sure i could cook up sumpin' pretty in case he got snowed in. This cone topped clay pot will help you cook up an unbelievable Moroccan stew full of sweet, savory, and spicy bits of tenderness. Luckily for me, St. Nick (aka boyfriend) made sure mine came with a cookbook. It's easy, delicious recipes can be done also in a pan, but the tagine pot just makes it so much more authentic. Tonight's first attempt at stewing up a tagine was a medley of yam, shallot, carrot, and prune, and you know what....UNBELIEVABLE! It wasn't my own recipe...but worth posting for those that want a root veggie hearty stew. And those that love a new kitchen appliance...especially one so big you're not sure where to store it, well i have your next big adventure.

**recipe from "Tagine, Spicy stews from Morocco" by Chillie Basan

Tagine of yam, shallots, carrots, and prunes:

you'll need either a tagine or a deep pan with a lid, a cutting board, a knife, and a peeler...
what else?

2 tbsp of olive oil
a 1 & 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
2 tsp of ground cinnamin
1/2 tsp of tagine spice (only if you have....otherwise omit, recipe did not call for)
also optionally if you have a 1/4 tsp of harissa, toss it in (also not on original recipe)
about 16 small shallots peeled and left whole (i used some funny pearl like onion i found)
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
1 & 3/4 lb. yams, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
3/4 cup pitted prunes
1 tbsp honey (dark recommended)
2 cups of veggie or chicken stock
a small bunch of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
a few fresh mint leaves, chopped
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

this really is easy...it just takes time...so be patient:

Heat the olive oil in your tagine over low heat (or in the pan. If you are using a tagine you may want to invest in a stove top heat diffuser so that the clay does not crack from too much heat. I found mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for a whopping $3.99). Stir in the ginger and cinnamon, as well as tagine spice and harissa if you are using. Meanwhile peel the onions. Once peeled toss them into the tagine coating the onions with the herbs, cover and continue to cook on low. Peel your carrots and yams and cut all into bite size chunks. Once the onions have began to turn color add the yam and carrots and saute for 2-3 minutes increasing the heat to med+. Add the prunes and the honey and pour in the stock and bring it to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat, cover again, and allow to cook gently for another 20-25 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in some of the cilantro and the mint. Season with salt and pepper. If there is still quite a bit of liquid leave the lid off and continue to cook another 3 minutes or so allowing the liquid to cook down to a more syrupy consistency. The vegetables should be tender and slightly carmelized in a very syrupy sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and mint and serve right in your tagine (using a hot pad so it doesn't harm your table). This will serve about 4 folks. Serve along with some Israeli couscous or brown rice.
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