This recipe came from Skinny Spatula, a website from which I am drawing more and more inspiration. This was the first recipe from their site that I tried and it was so immensely delicious that at the request of Robert and Wills I have made it five or six times this year. For me it ticks lots of boxes – look at those vegetables, and it is spicy and yes, delicious, but also quick and simple to make. I could not ask for a more perfect family dinner.
The ingredients in the photo below made up a huge amount of tagine, so it became popular for some of our garden entertaining on chilly evenings when we needed to keep our guests warm.
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 small aubergines, cut into 1-inch chunks, salted
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 medium courgette, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 tbsp ras el hanout
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 x 400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 x 400 g (14 oz) tin chickpeas
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 500 ml (2 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large oven-proof pan and fry the aubergines until slightly golden. You may want to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pan. Remove the aubergines from the pan and set them aside.
In the same pan, add the rest of the olive oil and fry the onion for a couple of minutes until it softens. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Then add the courgette and red pepper and cook for at least five minutes until they soften. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Add the ras el hanout and ground cinnamon to the pan and stir well to cover the vegetables.
Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, and dried apricots (I think it may be the apricots that make this dish!) Stir well and then cover with vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Add the aubergine back to the pan, stir, and add a bit more stock or water if it looks too dry. The texture should be stew-like. Put a lid over the pan and bake for twenty-five minutes until all veggies are tender.
Remove the pan from the oven and season to taste. If there’s too much liquid left, bake for a couple more minutes without the lid. Add a little more water and stir if it looks too dry. (I found the opposite, I thought there was plenty of liquid.)
Serve over couscous and sprinkled with pine nuts and fresh parsley.