Recently, I had an amazing 9-course dinner, at Dirt Candy. One of the courses was a tomato fennel moroccan dish, served in the tiniest little ceramic tagine. The most memorable thing about this dish was the really flavorful broth. I decided there was no way I could recreate the dish, but I decided to make my own, focusing on a really rich tomatoey broth.
Full disclosure: I don’t know what the fuck I am doing when it comes to moroccan food. Its been awhile since i have had it. The only thing i really had in mind was beans and preserved lemons and maybe some turmeric and sausage. I basically wandered through the store and just put whatever I felt like in my basket. It actually ended up coming out really great.
Many of the ingredients in this are VERY salty- resulting in a salty dish. If you can find low sodium tomato juice, it will help in that respect.
I am not a food photographer. Once I cook it, I want to eat it, which means quick iPhone photos.
Lisa’s Inauthentic Tagine (serves 8-10.)
For the Tagine
2 C. White Wine
3 C. Tomato Juice
2 sweet onions, sliced thinly
2 Bulbs Fennel, sliced thinly. Fronds and tops reserved and chopped roughly.
3 T chopped, preserved lemon (or 1 T. lemon zest and 1 t. salt, but preserved lemon is better.)
1 Pinch saffron (optional)
3 t. turmeric
2 t. Crushed red pepper
1 bag (14 oz) frozen artichoke hearts
8 oz cooked fava beans (or garbanzos)
4 vegan sausages, cut into discs
1 package tempeh, cubed and previously braised in broth, wine, or tomato juice.
1 C pitted kalamata olives
4 T olive oil
1 large tomato, chopped
For the couscous
1 C whole wheat couscous
1/2 c tomato juice
1 T vegan butter (or olive oil)
1/2 cup water
large pinch salt
Saute one onion in half of the olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Add the roughly-chopped fennel tops and fronds and stir. Add white wine and tomato juice. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, toss the solids, and put aside.
Saute the other onion in the rest of the olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Add chopped tomato, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add all of the other ingredients, plus around a cup of the broth you put aside. cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
Add the rest of the broth and stir. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Taste; depending on your taste you may want to add more preserved lemon. If you didn’t use preserved lemon, you may wish to add salt at this point, but if you used it, its probably plenty salty at this time.
While the tagine is simmering, prepare couscous: bring water, tomato juice, and butter/oil to a boil. Remove from heat, and add salt and couscous. Mix thoroughly and cover for 5-10 minutes.
To serve, put 1/4 cup cooked couscous at the bottom of a bowl, and add tagine on top.