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Vegetable Tagine with Pistachio and Candied Orange Couscous and Cucumber Sour Cream

Updated 5:30 PM EST, Wed, Dec 30, 2009

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Vegetable Tagine with Pistachio and Candied Orange Couscous and Cucumber Sour Cream
from Carla Hall, Top Chef Season 5 finalist and owner of Alchemy Caterers in DC

Note from the chef: When preparing a recipe of a particular cuisine, it helps when you know what spices are used in that cuisine.  In this case, we’re using a Moroccan profile (Red Pepper, Cumin Seed, Coriander, Mint, Saffron, Anise, Cardamom, Cinnamon.)  Now that you have the framework, let your imagination go wild. 

Ingredients
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onions

2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground anise seed
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups diced tomatoes (roasted, if you find them)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
3 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1½ cups each (butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips), diced
½ cup diced kalamata olives
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or pot.  Add the onions and cook until soft and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute.  Add the spices (cumin, coriander, anise, cayenne, salt, pepper and cinnamon.) Cook until the onions are coated and the spices are nicely toasted.
2. Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock. Bay leaves and chickpeas; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce to a simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes. 
3. While the base of the stew is cooking, heat a large skillet to sauté the vegetables.  Toss each vegetable in olive oil and salt.  In small batches, sauté the vegetables until they are nicely seared.  Add them to the pot as they are finished. 
NOTE:  Start with butternut squash, since it will take the longest to cook. 
4. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are nearly tender, about 30 minutes.  Add the lemon zest and continue to simmer an additional 15 minutes. 
5. Sprinkle with parsley and cilantro, and serve over couscous. 

Pistachio and Candied Orange Couscous
2 cups boiling stock (vegetable or chicken)
2 cups couscous
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup toasted pistachios
½ cup candied orange peel
2 tablespoon mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest

1. In a medium bowl, mix couscous, salt and olive oil.  Pour boiling stock over couscous and mix well.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let sit for at least 5 minutes.  Use a fork to break up couscous.
2. Stir in pistachios, orange peel, mint, parsley, and lemon zest.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Cucumber Sour Cream
½ European cucumber, finely diced (not peeled)
8 oz sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, then season to taste.  Chill before serving.

Shopping List
olive oil
2 yellow onions
1 bulb
2” fresh ginger
ground cumin
ground coriander
anise seed
Cayenne pepper
ground cinnamon
1 (28oz) can diced roasted tomatoes
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 container bay leaves
2 (14.5 oz) cans chickpeas
1 each butternut squash
3 carrots
2 each sweet potatoes
1 (1#)pkg parsnips)
¼ pound kalamata olives
3 lemons
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch mint
1 box couscous
1- 8oz bag toasted pistachios
1 – 8oz pkg candied orange peel
1 european cucumber
8oz sour cream
 

First Published: Dec 17, 2009 5:23 PM EST

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