At long last, a new recipe. This one has been a hit with everyone in the family each time I’ve made it, which means it definitely deserves to be included here.  Miles’s favourite part is the apricots – he’s such a fruititarian! He was also pretty into the chickpeas last night, which made me happy since he tends to ignore meat.

This particular version of a tagine is made more like a stew, with the couscous cooked right in with the rest of the ingredients. It also uses pearl couscous, which is quite a lot larger than the kind of couscous you usually see. We were first introduced to pearl couscous a number of years ago by the owner of a small Middle Eastern grocery store in Victoria. My mum was making a fabulous dish using a spice blend called ras el hanout, and the owner suggested that pearl couscous would work nicely in place of the smaller kind. It used to be hard to find, but seems to be getting more popular, so it’s worth looking for.

Chickpea Tagine (Adapted from Mark Bittman)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced (more if you like and you aren’t married to James)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, peeled and minced (less if you don’t love ginger the way we do)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots (or dates or raisins, or a combination)
  • 1 14 oz tin of whole tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 1 cup pearl couscous

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and cook the onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric and cinnamon and cook 2 minutes more. Add the dried fruit, tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups of stock, chickpeas and carrots, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and couscous, cover again and cook for 10-15 minutes until the couscous is cooked. You may need to add the remaining 1/2 cup of stock, although I usually don’t.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4-6 (adult) servings.

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