Hello, young Padawan
If you are afraid of tagines because of the calories, or a vegan, vegetarian, or you never tried to cook a tagine because you think it’s too much work, this recipe is for you. I also often hear this about vegetarian or vegan people and this kind of recipe: “it’s a simmered recipe, so it’s not for me, only for meat lovers.” Fault. So we are going to cook a wonderful tagine recipe today that even those who have never seen a block of tofu in their lives will completely be crazy in love about it, to the point of forgetting their subtle jokes like “the carrot scream,” “the lion and the gazelle,” and even the one about the B12″. Clearly, you can make this recipe as much for your old misogynistic uncle, as for your little cousin who is a fan of miso. And even to the one who takes care of his shape, I promise, this recipe will fit into your macros and yourself into your jeans …
Ok, no more puns, I’ve seen you rolling your eyes fifteen times since the beginning of this article, and I’m afraid you will get stuck, so let’s go to the recipe because after all, that’s why you’re here little rascal.
Little tip not to let your aromatic plants like parsley or coriander stick to your fingers when you cut or chop them: Just think of washing them way before so that they have time to dry. For example, when you bring them back from the market, you wash them, store them in a glass filled with water like a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and they will always be ready. Thus, you will avoid the nervous breakdown and swear words in front of the kids. You’re welcome. Now, recipe.
For 3 servings
a standard packet of roasted vegan strips like those you find in Whole Foods (the ones that look like minced chicken), or 1 1/2 cup of any other type of TSP (textured soy protein), or tempeh of your choice but unseasoned, etc.
a small squash (it also works with small butternut …)
5 tiny potatoes (or 2 large, it’s ok!)
1/2 cup dried organic apricots, untreated (the dark ones, from the dark side of the force, lol)
6 sprigs of fresh coriander (or frozen coriander)
a large clove of garlic (or 2 small)
1/2 cube vegetable broth or 1 teaspoon ground vegetable broth
2 cup of boiling water
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. maple syrup
a teaspoon cornstarch
4 branches of saffron
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
a teaspoon cinnamon powder
a pinch of powdered nutmeg
Optional : A peace of Moroccan bread or Indian naan, for the sauce!
For this recipe, you will need a terracotta or ceramic Tajine (FYI, I have one from the brand “Emile Henry” in ceramic for 17 years, it remains as new as on its first day, ed), or a casserole, or if you have neither: a pan with a curved edge and a lid will do the trick (or an aluminum funnel the same diameter as your pan if you don’t have a lid). To make it easier, I’m going to call it “Tajine” here, but you will have understood the concept, we do with what we have in the kitchen. You can also use a Thermomix or Cook Processor robot from kitchen aid …
Check the package leaflet for your proteins, if they are TSP (textured soy proteins) from the dry products section, you will have to rehydrate them by soaking, rinsing, draining, etc. Do, as they say, to get them ready for the recipe. If you take them in bulk, ask the staff at your organic store, they will be delighted to explain everything to you, it’s really not rocket science. If it’s tempeh or imitation fresh meat, you can use it as is.
Peel the potatoes, carrots, shallots and wash them with the squash.
Cut the carrots into (not too thin) slices, the potatoes into medium-sized quarters (length: 2 little finger phalanx!), split the squash in half and empty it. Then cut it into dice the same size as the potatoes. Peel and mince the shallots. Cut the apricots in four. Cut the half lemon into six pieces (and we’ll see if you’re good in geometry, lol). Set aside.
Brush the tagine with a tablespoon of olive oil wherever we are going to place the food afterward to prevent it from sticking, then add another spoon of olive oil and put it on medium heat, without the cover. Once it is hot, place the carrots and brown them 2-3 minutes, the same medium heat. Add the shallots and the “simulated meat” of your choice, stir and continue cooking for 3 minutes until they are golden. Add the garlic, potatoes, powdered spices, namely: saffron, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
Check that your half-liter of water is still hot in your kettle, add the crumbled cube broth, apricots pieces, maple syrup, and enough boiling water to the tagine to cover everything. Gently stir, lower the heat to a softer position (on a hob ranging from 1 to 9, I set to 2), cover, and simmer for an hour and a half. There should not be boiling spots that jump and dirty your hob. If this is the case: the fire is too strong. Simmer, we said, meaning that you must have mini sweet bubbles, never boiling. For people using a robot: set it to 185 °F or in the simmer position.
Open the tagine, mix gently then add the diced squash (leave them on top, do not stir otherwise you will have some that become mash), and continue simmering over your very low heat for 30 minutes.
Take a few spoons of the cooking juices in a small ramekin, pour the teaspoon of cornstarch in it, stir with a fork and pour into the tagine at the four corners of it. Optionally, add a little more hot water if you want more juice, place the six pieces of lemon, cover and simmer again for fifteen minutes. The squash should remain al dente and the other vegetables tender.
To taste this dish, I advise you to let it cool now, and put it back in the simmer position half an hour before eating it; it’s always better reheated.
In your cutest deep plate, arrange a few spoonfuls of this wonderful sexy spice tagine. You can be proud, you did it. Sprinkle with previously chopped coriander (or frozen, as in the photo, it works too!).
Optionally accompany it with a slice of Moroccan bread, or a piece of naan if you don’t find any, both are excellent with it!
Here we have a seasonal tagine, without animal products, delicious, comforting, healthy, of which there are still vitamins thanks to the squash, which remains al dente, and which great cooking flavors smells throughout the house. I wait for you in the comments of this blog or on Instagram for the next challenge.