Like many dishes, Maghrebin tagine was born from the intersection of two culinary cultures: the stews of indigenous Berber cuisine and the spices of the Middle East — which arrived in North Africa during the 10th century Muslim Arab conquests. The dish takes its name from the conical earthenware pot in which it’s traditionally cooked. But even if you don’t have one in your kitchen, you can still easily make a tagine.
Typically, a tagine slow cooks for hours. But here, we simmer up a stew of butternut squash, eggplant, bell pepper, cauliflower, tomato, green beans, and chickpeas in a large pot on the stove, and then slide it in the oven for about 45 minutes. The veggies still get all the time they need to soak up the many, many spices — think cardamom, coriander, cumin, fennel, cayenne, and turmeric. And you, dear eater? You get a warm, flavorsome, weeknight-friendly meal!
Veggie tagine tastes so hearty and comforting atop a bed of fluffy couscous. And we just love the texture and nuance the tangy yogurt, crunchy almonds, and fresh cilantro garnishes bring to the bowl. It’s the sort of dish that makes everyone want to pull up a chair and stay awhile.
To make the spice mix: In a small bowl, whisk together the cardamon, coriander, cumin, ground fennel, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cloves, and ginger. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Transfer the onion and garlic to a large bowl.
Add the squash to the pot and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer the squash to the bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot. Add the eggplant and cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl.
Add another 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot. Add the bell pepper and cauliflower and cook until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl.
Add the tomatoes to the pot and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the prepared spice mix and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Return all of the vegetables to the pot. Stir in the water, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven. Carefully stir in the chickpeas and green beans. Then, return the pot to the oven and cook for 15 minutes, until the beans are tender and the sauce has thickened.
Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Serve the tagine in bowls over couscous and garnish with yogurt, toasted almonds, and cilantro.
Recipe source: Recipe Tin Eats