Today was a quiet day. It was a work-from-home day. I wore pajamas until 7:30pm (when I went out to get frozen yogurt with a friend).
When I finished my work day, I watched the newest episode of “Hoarders” on the A&E website. Bliss.
Watching that show always inspires me to get all kinds of clean, organized, and domestic. I’ll spend New Year’s weekend cleaning, but I spent tonight cooking. Having recently purchased an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, I wanted to try it out. I wanted to make a stew of some kind – something warm and filling to battle the bitterly cold weather.
I found a recipe for a Root Vegetable Tagine with Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Turnips, and Spice-Roasted Chickpeas on Epicurious, but was missing many of the ingredients and was too lazy to prepare the Spice-Roasted Chickpeas (which are a separate recipe entirely).
So I took some liberties. Here is my LIBERALLY modified version:
Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Tagine
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons sea salt (divided)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/4 cups carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3/4 cup brine-cured green olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
- 1 large (or 2 medium) tomato, diced
- 1 can chick peas (aka garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed thoroughly
- 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon orange peel
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- Toast the coriander, mustard and fennel seeds in a small frying pan or pot over medium heat until they begin to brown and pop, about 2 minutes. Let them cool and then grind them up – either in a food mill, mini food processor or with mortar and pestle. Pop them into a small bowl and add the smoked paprika, ginger and teaspoon of salt. Here’s my mortar and pestle shot…
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and sprinkle with about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt; sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the toasted spices, minced garlic, and tomato paste; stir 1 minute. Add carrots and celery; stir 2 minutes.
- Add 4 cups water, lemon juice, sweet potatoes, olives, chick peas, diced tomato and sun-dried tomato bits. Lower the heat, leave the lid a bit open, and let those simmer together until the sweet potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. About 10-15 minutes into the simmering, add the dried cranberries and orange peel. Total time to cook to the proper tenderness should be about 35 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add the cilantro and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand for about 10 minutes to let the flavors blend.
- Serve over couscous or quinoa (or with garlic naan from Trader Joe’s — that’s what I did because I had some handy).