Sunday, April 29, 2007

Vegetable Tagine with almond & Chickpea Couscous.

So we’re on a bit of a diet now. We are in between houseguests, so we figured nothing crazy, just cut out the sugary desserts. More veg, less meat and bread… it doesn’t have to mean bleak horribleness.
This for instance, totally rocked!

400g pack of shallots
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into bite sized chunks
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
450ml/16 fl oz strong flavored veg stock
12 small pitted prunes
2 tsp clear honey
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
3 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp chopped mint, plus extra for sprinkling
For the couscous
250g/9oz couscous
1tbsp harissa (Moroccan chilli paste)
400g can of chick peas, rinsed and drained
Handful toasted and flaked almonds

Fry the shallots in the oil for 5 minutes, till soft and brown. Add the squash and spices, and stir for 1 min. Pour in the stock, season well, then add the prunes and honey. Cover and simmer for 8 min. Add the peppers and cook for 8-10 minutes until just tender. Stir in the coriander and mint.
Pour 400ml boiling water over the couscous in a bowl, then stir in the harissa with 1/2 tsp salt. Tip in the chickpeas, then cover and leave for 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork and serve with the tagine, flaked almonds, and extra mint.

Note: If you tip the shallots into a bowl, pour over some boiling water, and leave them for 10 minutes, when you drain them the skin will peel away easily, without stinging your eyes.

That’s a really good tip by the way, it totally worked.

This is one of the really good ones from Good Food Magazine. This was a great combination of flavors. I doubled the cinnamon and ginger like I always do, and for me that was the perfect amount. This had a really complex flavor without being at all overwhelming. Also, even though the couscous had Harissa in it, it wasn’t nearly as spicy as I thought it would be. I made a batch of plain couscous for the boys, but in the end I think it was unnecessary. The couscous on it’s own was kind of blah, but it worked perfectly with the tagine.

This is a definite keeper, and my little one loved it too. He ate everything except two of the red pepper pieces. My older son ate his too, after a bit of protest, but the protest had more to do with being three, then with the actual food. Big success!

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