I really like seeing all the variety of appetizers, entrees, and desserts that people bring. People come together for the holidays and you get to try new foods, experience wonderful flavors, and share different cultures. Oftentimes I leave an event usually asking at least recipe for me to try later at home.
Something new that I recently tried was a rendition of an eggplant tagine, a Moroccan stew. Tagine is a traditional stew named after the cooking equipment that the dish is normally prepared with.
|Tagines lined up in a row (photo courtesy of K. Rogers)|
Tagines can be made with a variety of different ingredients, such as different meats, vegetables, or even fruits, slow cooked and simmered with a combination of different spices like curry, cumin, and saffron. The final product culminates into this aromatic dish that can be eaten with rice, pasta, or even, as I experienced it, as a dip.
|Vegetable tagine (photo courtesy of Turajski)|
|Festive vegetarian eggplant tagine!|
My first experience having a tagine was at a potluck for an end-of-quarter celebration for a mentoring pilot program happening at my university. The flavor profile is a little bit of sweet, savory, and spicy. There's a great kick at the end that comes from a little bit of cayenne.
There's a great amount of versatility with a tagine. In essence, it's just a stew of your favorite things (whether it's really well-seasoned meat, in season produce, or just an assortment of blazing spices).
Here's my rendition of the eggplant tagine (recipe from M. Diaz, who was so kind as to share with me his wonderful recipe!). You'll find that the recipe is very flexible - you can add or omit anything you don't want. I think that next time, I might add some zucchini squash and celery. Also, the dish is super festive looking and not difficult to make!
- Olive oil for brushing
- 1 chinese eggplant (I think any eggplant would work), diced
- 1 24 oz can of stewed tomatoes (I chose the fire roasted and seasoned with garlic flavor)
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of honey to start
- 1 lime
- Spices of your choice (cumin is a huge staple for most tagines, but I didn't have any on hand, so I used Trader Joes' 21 seasoning salute, cayenne, paprika, garlic salt, and onion powder)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degree F
2. Slightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil
3. Place eggplant and garlic cloves in baking sheet and bake until slightly cooked (should be roughly 15 minutes) - once garlic slightly roasted, cut into smaller pieces for stew
4. While waiting, make the stew - throw in stewed tomatoes (can be done from scratch, too), onions and let simmer slowly
5. After eggplant and garlic done, toss in and stir slowly
6. After simmering for about 5 minutes, slowly add in honey until it fully dissolves (if your honey is super thick, try to heat it up slowly in another bowl). Once honey dissolved, add in spices of your choice and taste every so often until you like the taste
7. Finish off with a squeeze of lime - it will enhance the flavors further
8. Once happy with the taste, let it cool and you can serve with either rice, chips, couscous, or even pasta (I used brown rice sesame crackers)
9. Tagine will taste good several days after - in fact, the flavors are deeper if you let it sit in the fridge for a few hours!
You'll find that the flavors of this dish are slightly sweet and acidic - perfect for a dip... or even breakfast (I brought some to work today and ate it by 10AM....)