Autumn Tagine with Spiced Couscous

Autumn Tagine with Grilled Chicken
Autumn Tagine with Grilled Chicken

Sick of turkey yet? Need a little breather from the winged one? Then you must try this recipe out. Not to worry, it’s still in line with the season since it’s full of autumn veg and cinnamon accents, which are just brilliant at this time of year. And it’s a great dish to warm your bones, esp. for all of you experiencing signs of winter. Wonder when that will kick in here in Los Angeles….

What exactly is this dish you ask? A tagine is a North African dish (typically Moroccan) of spiced meats and vegetables prepared by slow cooking ingredients together usually in a tagine (clay pot). Of course a saute pan works as well. By using this method of slow cooking the flavors will marry together and you’ll end up with a fantastic flavorful dish.

RECIPE: Serves 8
2 cups butternut squash – peeled, seeded & diced into 1″ cubes
3 cups Japanese eggplant, sliced diagonally into 1″pieces
2 cups red onion – diced into 1″ pieces
3 garlic cloves – minced
2 tbsp. fresh ginger – grated
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups fresh cauliflower florets
2 tbsp. olive oil
S&P to taste

3 cups vegetable broth
1 stick cinnamon or 1-2 tsp.
2 tbsp. agave / honey
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

1 tbsp. chopped mint for garnish

TAGINE DIRECTIONS:
Combine the squash, eggplant, onion, cauliflower, peas, garlic, ginger, cumin, chili powder, S&P and olive oil in a large mixing bowl and toss together. Mix well.
Pre-heat a large saute pan. In 3 batches, saute the veg mix until lightly browned, approx 3-4 mins. per batch. Remove each sauteed batch to another mixing bowl and repeat browning process until completed. When all the veg have been browned return the entire batch back to saute pan. Add broth, cinnamon (stick or powdered), agave, lemon juice and zest and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 mins. stirring occasionally. Taste and season with S&P. Just before serving remove cinnamon stick and stir in cilantro.

COUSCOUS RECIPE:
1 cup dry couscous
2 1/2 vegetable broth / water
1/2 tsp. saffron treads
1 stick cinnamon or 1-2 tsp.
1/2 tsp. salt

COUSCOUS DIRECTIONS:
Follow the method on the box for cooking instructions. Add the cinnamon, salt and saffron as the liquid is heating. You would typically add the saffron in along with the broth at this stage, which allows the flavor and color to emit into the liquid. The Missus was in charge of making the couscous and didn’t realize this and added in the saffron along with the dry couscous. By doing it this way, you won’t get the color or the full flavor of the saffron so she learned the hard way! That of course, is the beauty about cooking–trial and error is the only way to learn.

Autumn Tagine with Tofu
Autumn Tagine with Tofu

Once the dry couscous has been added it’s very important not to play around stirring it until you’re ready to use otherwise you’ll have lovely big lumps of couscous in your dinner. Fluff very gently with a fork when ready to serve.

PROTEIN OPTIONS: Here’s where you can make it your own and vary it the next time you make it.

Vegetarian: Add diced tofu
Non-vegetarian: Add chicken or shrimp or even sliced turkey if you’ve still got a hankering for it.

If you guys have any suggestions for recipes or even want to request I use a particular ingredient in a recipe give me a shout. For more healthy recipes and cooking tips be sure to head over to the healthyirishman.com.

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