Moroccan Vegetable Tagine with Harissa Couscous

20141101-12 Vegetable Tagine with Harissa Couscous 5652-Edit-2

Deniz and I saw our tagine sitting on the shelf gathering dust this week and suddenly got a hankering for Moroccan food.  Below is a modified fusion of recipes we found on BBC and Epicurous recipe for Vegetable Tagine and Harissa.  It’s got that perfect balance of sweet, tangy, salty, and exotic Mediterranean spices.

Tangine Ingredients:

  • 400g shallots, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (optional)

Squash mix:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2½ lb), peeled, deseeded and cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • ½ t ground ginger

Tangine Sauce

  • 2 c strong veggie broth (2 Knorr vegetarian bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 cups of boiling water)
  • 14 large pitted prunes, each cut into six even pieces
  • 2 t honey

Tagine Garnish

  • 3 T cilantro, chopped
  • 2 T mint, chopped

Couscous Ingredients:

  • 500g couscous
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1½ t tomato paste
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1½ T salt

Harissa dry spice mix:

  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Harissa wet spice mix

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

Tagine Instruction:  

Prepare the ingredients as described in the ingredients list.  Combine the Squash Mix ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine the Tagine Sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.  Combine the Tagine Garnish in a small bowl.

Fry the shallots in the oil for 5 mins until they are softening and browned. Add the Squash Mix, and stir for 1 min. Add the Tangine Sauce. Cover and simmer for 8 mins.

Add the peppers and optional chickpeas and cook for 8-10 mins until tender. Stir in the Tagine Garnish.  

Couscous Instruction:

Place the red pepper under a broiler, turning occasionally for about 30 minutes until the skin is blackened and the pepper is soft. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to cool. Peel the pepper and discard its skin and seeds.

Prepare the ingredients as described in the ingredients list. Combine the Harissa Dry Spice Mix ingredients in a medium sauce pan.  Combine the Harissa Wet Spice Mix ingredients in a small bowl.

Pour 1 L boiling water over the couscous in a bowl. Cover and leave for 5 mins. Fluff up with a fork.

Heat a dry frying pan over low heat and lightly toast the Harissa Dry Spice Mix for 2 minutes. Grin the mix to a powder using a mortar and pestle.

Heat the frying pan over medium heat, and fry the Harissa Wet Spice Mix for 10 to 12 minutes, until it is a dark smoky color and almost fully caramelized.

Blend the dry-fried Harissa Dry Spice Mix, fried Harissa Dry Spice Mix and remaining couscous ingredients (except for the couscous) together until smooth.  Mix this completed salty Harissa into the couscous until completely coated.  Add olive oil to the flavored couscous to taste.

Serve the Tagine on top of the seasoned couscous.

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