Moroccan Vegetable Crumble

2 Dec

Well, this started out life as a crumble but I’m not sure it should still claim the same title.

The love asked for one so I rummaged through the internet the BBC Good Food website and found a very satisfying recipe.

However, looking through Tagines and Couscous by Ghillie Basan, I came across the idea for a Moroccan ratatouille which I thought I might use to make my own version of a savoury crumble. I did try it, but in all honesty it wasn’t good. The flavour combinations were all over the place, but I still felt that I had the seed of a good idea, so I tried again. I replaced the dried dates for fresh figs, omitted the sugar and improvised with my own ‘crumble’ topping, also inspired by Ghillie Basan. It is a very good book.

This is a really lovely, warming dinner which sings of goodness and tastes smoky, sweet, savoury and tangy. The ras-el-hanout is responsible for the smokiness, but it also acts to enhance the sweetness involved and to give the meal a well-rounded flavour.

Serves 2.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, halved and deseeded 
  • 1/2 green pepper, deseeded
  • 1/2 aubergine
  • 1 courgette
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes or 400g passata
  • 1 tsp ras-el-hanout
  • 4 small or 2 large fresh figs
  • 150g couscous
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 knobs of butter, 1 broken into little pieces
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds
  1. Prepare all the vegetables by halving lengthways then slicing horizontally into 2cm slices. Top and tail the figs, then quarter them.
  2. Heat some sunflower or vegetable oil in a large frying pan and add the onion and garlic. Fry gently for 8-10 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the aubergine, pepper and courgettes and fry for 10 minutes more. Add the figs, tomatoes and ras-el-hanout and mix thoroughly. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°c and make up the couscous by pouring it in a bowl and covering it with 200ml recently boiled water with a little added salt. Leave the couscous to absorb the water, then rub the olive oil into the couscous with your fingers to break up any lumps. Set aside.
  4. You can also prepare the almonds while the vegetables are cooking. Melt the unbroken knob of butter in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring until they start to turn golden. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. When the vegetables are tender but still retain a bit of bite, transfer the mixture to a casserole dish. Smooth down then spread the couscous over the top. Scatter the broken knob of butter over the couscous and bake for about 15 minutes, until the couscous is getting crispy. Scatter over the fresh parsley and toasted almonds, ready to serve.

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Here, as you can see, the parsley and almonds were sadly forgotten. But trust me, your meal will only benefit from including these touches. And forgive the flour; I was too hungry to clear up before taking the photograph and hurrying to sit down and eat. As the saying goes: ‘a messy kitchen is a happy kitchen’ 🙂

Perhaps now I’ll work on a recipe for a more legitimate savoury crumble…

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