I love the flavors of Morocco. It’s a sort of sweet and savory spice blend that can pack a punch without sacrificing any of the flavor. I skipped the hot and spicy for the benefit of my little family’s tummies, but you can always heat it up a little for your version if it will be pleasing to the crowd to which you’re catering.
Moroccan culture seems so vibrant, and that shines through in this traditional dish. Oh, how I wish I had a couple of pieces of authentic tajine pottery. They are beautifully crafted and impressive for when it comes to presentation. Unfortunately, I had to fashion a condensation-catching top out of aluminium foil and place it on top of my cutest casserole dish. It’s definitely not quite the same…
I also resisted the urge to cook on charcoal the traditional way, and instead opted for shallow frying and then oven baking. I wasn’t quite ready to experiment with my cute pottery on a charcoal fire in pouring rain in the middle of winter. I’m committed to flavor, but… Not that committed.
The kids and I worked on prepping dinner (Read: they played nicely enough that I could actually concentrate for the most part), while Daddy Alsum went for a coffee with his close friend. I wanted to cook something filling and flavorful for when he walked in the door, and this dish really checked those boxes.
Tajine atop almond couscous
What you will need:
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 potato, unpeeled, rinsed, and sliced (I actually had some red-purple fingerling potatoes in the cupboard so I used 4 of those instead)
- 1 squash, peeled, seeded and diced
- 2 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained and boiled
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp honey (optional; avoid if desiring a vegan dish)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsp chopped mint
- 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 cup couscous (I actually used a blend of grains that included couscous, quinoa and orzo)
- 1/4 cup almond flour
How you can do it:
- Fry all tajine ingredients together until onion is well-softened.
- Stir vigorously to distribute the herbs and spices evenly.
- Pour fried ingredients into tajine pottery (or sorry-looking imitation-tajine casserole dish).
- Bake at 350 Fahrenheit until potatoes are soft, about 1 hour.
- Bring some water to a steady boil, and add couscous and almond flour.
- Boil the grain hard for 15 minutes, and then turn off heat and cover for 45 minutes. This will give it a chance to continue cooking while absorbing plenty of water.
Morocco, thank you for the beautiful food and the beautiful pottery. If you own a tajine, appreciate it fully on my behalf.
From mine to yours,