Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Next Stop: Morocco

I've had this crazy idea in my head to make North African food. I recently had Ethiopian food (which I LOVE), and I've been reading a lot about Tunisian cuisine, but I think it was the pre-made TJ's jar of Moroccan Tagine that really got me on this kick. The flavors were so exciting, that I had to give it a homemade go.
I decided to go with Mark Bittman's Chicken and Lentil Tagine for my initial pursuit . Tagine is not only the name for this Moroccan stew, but also for the pot that it's traditionally served in (just an FYI).
Quite honestly, I was intimidated by the spices. This was my first true use of the spice turmeric, and in this dish, it plays a prominent role. One of the main alterations to Bittman's recipe was exchanging the lentils for yellow split peas. I saw Bittman's substitution for the lentils, and I raised him a whole new substitution. No lentils? Bittman says use chickpeas. No chickpeas? I say use yellow split peas. No yellow split peas? The hubby says make yourself a hot dog, sit yourself down on the couch, turn on the television, and forget about it. Yeah, you wish.

Split Peas
Aren't the colors gorgeous?
I used a green & yellow pea combo that turned out nicely.

Moroccan Tagine

Moroccan Tagine

1 Tbs butter
6 chicken wing parts
1/2 onion, sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
2/3 c chopped tomato
1 cup raw spinach, washed
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp turmeric
4-5 cups water, divided
1 cup split peas (yellow/green)
1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
Freshly ground pepper

1. Melt butter in a large sauce pan. Lightly season chicken parts with salt and pepper. Cook chicken in butter on medium heat until slightly browned, about 10 min.
2. Add 2 cups of water, garlic, onion, jalapeno, spinach, and tomato. Cook for 10 minutes.
3. Add cinnamon, turmeric, S&P, and remaining water. Turn heat up to med/high and add peas.
4. Cover and boil for 5 minutes, then lower heat to simmer for another 20 minutes, or until peas are tender.

Serve with jasmine rice.

Turmeric is what gives the dish that bright yellow color that is often associated with curries and N. African cuisine. The smell reminded me of ground mustard, but the taste is very unique. I was pleased with my first tagine/turmeric experience, and look forward to the next.
Remember, fear is a cook's worst enemy. Go forth my intrepid chef, and cook yourself something Moroccan.


2 Comments:

At 10:39 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

that looks good.... do i heard drums? anywho, next time you come over you need to make that :)

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger MonkeyBites said...

Maybe it's the rattling lose screws in your noggin, Andrew ;)

 

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