While this dish is a little more complicated than most that I post on this blog, I think you’ll agree that this vegetable tagine is delicious enough to be worth the extra few minutes it takes. In Morocco a tagine is both a well-seasoned stew and the name of the earthenware dish with a conical lid in which it’s made. This tagine is part of a wedding menu I’ll be doing in June, and yesterday I made it for the wedding couple who came by for a tasting. While this version is a side dish, you could make it the centerpiece of a vegetarian meal by adding a cup or two of cooked chick peas. Serve with couscous. Complete recipe, after the jump…
TAGINE OF SAFFRON POTATOES, ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES, ARTICHOKE HEARTS AND SUGAR SNAP PEAS
(8-10 servings) Preheat oven to 400º F
8-10 small-medium potatoes, quartered (I used red potatoes, but Yukon gold or other similar potatoes will work well)
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
saffron, turmeric, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
1 1/2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes
8 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
2 cups sugar snap peas cut into 1/2-inch pieces or 1 cup fresh or frozen English peas
2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups diced canned tomatoes
First, roast the potatoes and tomatoes: put a generous tablespoon of olive oil in a mixing bowl, add 15-20 saffron threads, a tiny pinch of turmeric, and 2 cloves of the minced garlic, stir. Add the potatoes, salt and pepper and toss so the potatoes are evenly coated. Spread the potatoes on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and roast for about 40 minutes. Then put the tomatoes in the same bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, roast on another parchment-lined cookie sheet for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce part of the dish. Sauté the onions in an additional tablespoon of olive oil, with another 15-20 threads of a saffron, a bit of turmeric and the chili flakes for 4-5 minutes, add the remaining garlic, the stock and the diced, canned tomatoes, add a tiny pinch of salt and a little black pepper, and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, prep the peas and steam for 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
When the sauce has thickened a bit, check seasoning, adding salt and pepper, and a little squeeze of lemon, as needed, to brighten the flavors. Add the artichoke hearts and a tablespoon or two of chopped cilantro and simmer a few minutes to warm (if making this with chick peas, add them now). Stir in the roasted potatoes and tomatoes. This dish can be made ahead of time up to this point, and reheated, but add the peas only just before serving to preserve their color and texture. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with couscous.