Sunday, December 15, 2013

Vegan Moroccan Tagine with Prunes and Preserved Lemons

This is made traditionally with lamb or goat meat and chicken stock.  Here is a vegan alternative

¼ cup olive oil
3 medium onions, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or chopped fine
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper or ground chilli pepper
1/8 tsp saffron threads, crushed

4 cups of stock or water with 2-3 vegetable bouillon cubes.  (I use 2 salt free and 1 regular bouillon cube)
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs parsley
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices
6 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
½ butternut squash cut into 2 inch pieces
8 - 12 preserved lemon sections – rinse, remove pulp and cut into thin strips

*Meatless Beef Strips or any good vegetarian meat substitute

In a large pot heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until they begin to give up their juices.  Add the ground spices and saffron and cook for another 3 minutes or until the onions a soft.  Stir occasionally and can add 1 tsp of water if it looks like it is sticking.
Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Add the bay leaves and parsley, and reduce the heat to s simmer.  Cover lightly and cook for 10 minutes.

(If you are using a slow cooker, this is the time to transfer your broth over and add your vegetables)

Add the potatoes, carrots and squash and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are almost tender.
Taste and top with more stock if needed.

Prepare the couscous. While the couscous is cooking, drain the prunes, and add them along with the preserved lemon to the tagine.  Cook an additional 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Preserved Lemons
1 wide jar with a lid – about 1 quart size
A glass or ceramic ‘something’ to push the lemons down into the juice.  I use a shot glass or a glass lid from an antique mason jar that fits down in
8 – 10 organic lemons
Coarse salt
Put a tablespoon of salt into bottom of jar
Cut the lemons into quarters, but don’t cut them all the way through so you can spread them open
Remove any obvious pits
Put each lemon into the jar a put another sprinkle of salt on it
Push it down firmly
Continue to layer until almost full

Press down until the juice covers all the slices – if not, juice another lemon and pour juice to cover
Use the glass ‘something’ to hold the lemons down into the juice and put on the lid – Marinate in fridge for 3 to 6 weeks

Moroccan Spiced Preserved Lemons

Tlbs black peppercorns, crushed
Olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
Vegetable oil

This recipe calls for the lemons to be quartered, de-pitted and rubbed with Kosher salt and set aside for 24 hours become soft and limp

Pat the lemon pieces with a clean cloth and arrange in layers in a sterilized glass jar.  Lightly sprinkle each layer with a little paprika, crushed pepper and olive oil.  Add the garlic clove and a bay leaf at every third level and the cinnamon stick in the middle.  Cover the lemon with a combination of half olive and half vegetable oil.  Seal and refrigerate.
Marinate 3 weeks and will keep up to 6 more weeks
Serve in Tagine, grilled fish or curry dishes.

Side sauce – optional
½ cup hot broth with 1 Tlbs virgin olive oil melted into it (or butter)
1 Tlbs. lemon/lime juice
1 Tlbs chopped cilantro
A dash of hot stuff (optional)  I like PC Fiery Thai Dipping Sauce

1 ½ cup instant cous cous
A little salt and a little olive oil
2 cups boiling water

In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil, add salt and oil and then stir.  Add couscous and stir again.  Cover and take off the heat.  Let sit for 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed and fluff up the grains with a fork. 
On a large serving platter make an outer ring the couscous and place the tagine in the centre.
Garnish with sprigs of parsley or cilantro.  Serve the sauce in a gravy boat on the side
Serve with a side of spinach salad that is dressed with a light citrus dressing and Lebanese style pita bread wedges

Serves 6

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