So. Earlier this year, I made a tagine. The recipe is here, though it appears to have changed since I cooked it. (There definitely wasn’t any vanilla the first time I made it. I’d remember that.) Thankfully, I have the original on my computer.
In any event, tonight I was really in the mood for the flavour of the tagine (earthy, a little sweet), but all my chicken is in the freezer and I didn’t want to deal with defrosting it. On the other hand, I had two sweet potatoes I’d been meaning to use for a while (perhaps a little too long, actually — I had to cut off some bad parts) and there were two smallish potatoes left over from making hash browns yesterday. So I decided to experiment. Me, cooking without a full recipe? This is a dangerous, dangerous thing. But I decided to try anyway.
The main difference between this time and the last time I made this recipe is that there was a lot less panic. Since April, I’ve become comfortable with my spice grinder, with using ginger, and with the heat of my stove. So even though prep took about 45 minutes (mostly due to cutting the potatoes and other ingredients), it was a lot less stressful.
Because there wasn’t any chicken, I started directly with frying the onions. I put in my potatoes around the same time as I put in the chickpeas. It took much longer to cook through step 2 (see below) because I needed to wait for the potatoes to be tender, that took closer to 25 minutes than 15.
I was iffy on putting in the couscous, because there was so much potato in there, and I wasn’t sure if it needed more grains. In the end, I decided to put them in, just to thicken it up a bit and make it a bit of a one-pot meal. I think it was the right choice.
From start of prep to end of cooking, it was still about an hour and a half, but it was a much less stressful hour and a half, and most of the cooking time was unattended, so I don’t mind too much.
Final verdict: It smells tasty, and it tastes tasty too! Yay! The only problem (and it’s a small one) is that the sweet potato cooked faster than the regular potato, so it’s a bit on the mushy side. Maybe try putting it in 5 minutes later next time?
(Recipe behind the cut)
Chickpea Tagine With Potatoes and Apricots
(Adapted from Mark Bittman)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots, raisins, or a combination thereof
1 cup chopped tomato (fresh or canned or boxed, with juice)
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained, with the liquid reserved
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
2 smallish potatoes, cubed
1 to 2 cups chicken stock, bean liquid or water, or more as needed
1/2 cup bulgur or couscous
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1. Put oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes; add garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, dried apricots and tomato. Cook and stir just long enough to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan.
2. Add chickpeas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and 1 cup of stock or bean liquid to the pan and turn heat back to medium-high. When mixture reaches a gentle bubble, cover pot, turn heat to low and cook, checking occasionally to make sure the mixture is bubbling gently, for about 20-25 minutes or until tomatoes break down and flavors begin to meld. Stir in bulgur, adding more stock if necessary so that the mixture is covered with about an inch of liquid. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Cover and cook until the bulgur is done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasonings and serve in bowls garnished with parsley.