Sunday, 14 December 2008

Festive Moroccan Tajine


I have to say, my tajine (or tagine) is one of my favourite cooking tools. It works much like a slow cooker, the structure is designed to capture steam and redirect it back into the stew making for a tender, juicy dish. The word tajine refers to the cooking vessel and the stew within and in North America we tend to serve tajine with couscous - the quick cooking variety that can be purchased at the grocery store.
One of the reasons that I love tajine so much is that I can throw lots of good stuff in the pot, give it a toss and let the vessel do the work. Moroccan food tends to be a little milder, but I do like to spice it up. Harissa is a fiery pepper sauce that is used as a condiment, and I have included some in the tajine itself for an added kick. The festive flavours and colours of this particular tajine are perfect for the season, enjoy!

Festive Tajine
Preheat oven to 315f. I put the rack on the lower 1/3rd level to fit the tajine in the oven. Measure before heating the oven.

In tajine:
Handful of baby carrots
3 ribs celery, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 purple onion, roughly chopped
2 seedless clementines, sectioned
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup dried currants
2 tbsp harissa
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp each - green peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, salt
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1/2 tsp fennel seeds

Toss together in tajine or oven safe dutch oven. Cook for 1 hour, or until tender - tossing again half way through.

Remove from heat and toss again with:
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Harissa
12 dried chili peppers - soaked for 1/2 hour
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Pulse soaked and drained chilies with garlic, cumin and salt until combined, blend with olive oil.
Keep in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
This is my contribution to Souper Sundays - a celebration of all things souped, stewed and slow-cooked, hosted by the lovely and talented Deb of Kahakai Kitchen!