This wonderful dish brought back great memories of North Africa. Having spent three weeks on an 1,800 mile road trip in Morocco, I saw the cone-shaped tagine pots on braziers everywhere, including at road-side stands. Most were meat based, but some were vegetarian or vegan. The flavors varied greatly, but offered a base of North African spices, a bit of fruity sweetness, and often the crunch of a scattering of nuts on top. Make this, and adjust the seasonings to your taste and personal flare. As with many stews, this is even better the next day. Flatbread is traditionally served with taglines and is a perfect accompaniment. See my video for two great flatbreads.
Inspired by Chef Carole Levy, N.Y. on Chef AJ interview
Can be doubled, using a 8 qt pot, and frozen for future meals
In a 6 quart heavy pot, dry saute onions (adding a touch of broth as they brown to prevent burning) until translucent, stirring regularly so that the onions do not stick. Add garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon (or curry powder instead) and saffron (if using). Stir and add a touch more broth. Cook 2-3 minutes to toast the spices, being careful not to brown too deeply. Add all of the chopped veggies, and tomatoes with juices, breaking them up lightly as you add them. Add 2 1/2 cups of stock, (or more, if you want more liquid), chickpeas, lemon peel and raisins. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover and cook the vegetables until they are tender, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to serving bowls, top with fresh herbs and pomegranate seeds and/or toasted nuts.
Possible additions to add at the end. Stir in during the last 5 minutes:
Pitted green olives (Castelvetranos).
Preserved lemon (use just a little)
2 teaspoons harissa (North African hot chili pepper paste); optional for a bit of heat and more spice.
Toasted slivered or chopped almond or pistachios (scatter on top after plating)
Watch me make this recipe: