When I am stuck in writing a post, I always read it aloud to Hubby. This does two things; it allows me to catch many of my typos, and it usually helps me find a good starting place for these little blurbs. Tonight was the perfect example. I was going to start by telling you about how little I actually know of Morocco. I wrote that all I knew of Morroco was what I learned from Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Moroccan section of Epicot Center (my favorite). When I got to this part reading the post through to Hubby, he looked at me incredulously. I thought I had just insulted him to the point of injury. He looked seriously pained. Then he let me have it! Have you guessed why yet? Yeah, the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene I was referencing takes place in Cairo not Morocco. It gives you insight into Hubby. He takes his Indy films seriously (except for that crystal skull *P.O.G). He’ll be making fun of me for that one for awhile!
When I think of Morocco, I think of bright rich colors, and flavors I really love. I am a sucker for the combination of spicy, sweet and savory, and Moroccan food delivers those flavors big time. This tagine uses basic ingredients that you can get at any grocery store; no need for Harissa, Ras Al Hanout, or preserved lemons.
This is actually a hybrid between a traditional tagine and a stew and is a wonderful introduction to Moroccan tastes While most tagines are made stove top, this one uses a fix-it-and-forget-it approach. Make up the stew, throw it in the oven and come back two hours later to a kitchen full of heady exotic aromas and a heck of a meal. It tastes best when made the day before serving, but its also delicious straight from the oven.
You could easily switch out the dates for apricots for a tangy flavor or opt for butternut squash instead of the carrots. If you are cooking for a picky bunch or the little ones, scale down the cayenne or leave it out entirely. You get the idea, it’s a versatile meal. The leftovers will make you happy lunch or dinner too; so don’t tell anyone about them. This is a great meal for just the family, but you could double it for an exotic dinner party (you’ll need to use a dutch oven instead of a tagine.) You could also go all out and make a Moroccon feast (I’ve included some link ideas for you). However, you really just need a little couscous and you’ll be all set for a party in your mouth. Enjoy!
*Piece of garbage – I’m a nice girl, I won’t use the other term I was thinking of…
For a Moroccan feast, try some of these recipes from Cooking Light:
- Acorn Squash Wedges with Maple-Harissa Glaze
- Carrots with Paprika and Capers
- Chopped Eggplant Relish
- Oranges with Caramel and Cardamom Syrup
- Quinoa and Pistachio Salad with Moroccan Pesto
- Ragout of Cipollini Onions with Tomatoes, Cinnamon and Cumin
- Roasted Tomato-Harissa Soup with Olive Toasts
- Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Chickpeas and Onion–Pine Nut Topping (Al Cuscus bil Khodar al-mausim)