Ghillie Basan is one of my favourite food writers, and not least because Moroccan food is one of my favourite things to cook!
But this is my favourite recipe BY FAR that I have used from her book Tagines and Couscous – and I’ve made a fair few now!
It was difficult for me to decide what to call this meal because every ingredient is a star and combines so beautifully with the others… The only word I could really settle on was luscious because, well… that is exactly what it is! I did however really and truly believe with my whole heart that luscious was spelt with an ‘h’ after the ‘sc’. *sigh* I was so much better at spelling when I was 10…
So yes, if I was being super fair and diplomatic to all of the highly deserving ingredients in this recipe I would call it ‘Tagine of Sweet Potato, Shallots, Carrots, Prunes, Cinnamon, Ginger, Honey and Mint – Syrupy and with a Hint of Coriander’. But it’s quite a mouthful. No pun intended. But it really is an amazing mouthful.
Anyway, the reason I picked cinnamon and sweet potato for the title is that the former just permeated the house with its sweet and mouth-watering smell, making me feel as though I was been taken under in a haze of Moroccan balminess… *another sigh* (if only!)… and the latter simply because it makes up the bulk of the meal. Well hey, people need some idea of what’s really going on!
So, here’s how you make it:
Serves 2 generously, or 4 as a side dish for grilled/roasted meat.
- olive oil
- 20g fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
- 8 shallots, peeled and left whole
- 2 small-medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- handful ready-to-eat stoned pruned (about 60g)
- 2 tsp dark, runny honey or agave
- 200ml vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- a few fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat some olive oil in a tagine or heavy-based casserole. Add the ginger and cinnamon – cook for a minute then toss in the shallots. When the shallots begin to colour, add the sweet potato and carrots. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring, then add the prunes and honey. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for about 25 minutes.
- Uncover and stir in the mint and coriander. Season to taste and reduce the liquid, if necessary, by cooking for a few minutes uncovered. The vegetables should be tender and slightly caramelized in a very syrupy sauce.
Most often I would serve this with couscous and toasted flaked almonds, but we were OUT OF COUSCOUS! I know, shocker! So instead we had it with red and white quinoa – really yummy! Though it does smell a bit weird… It worked, just so’s you know 🙂
And finally, may I just plead with you – if you are using a brand new tagine, PLEASE treat it beforehand and be careful when adjusting it’s temperature so it doesn’t crack and momentarily destroy your life. Been there… just saying…
I am going to make this so many times!!!