I don’t know why, but when I make Middle Eastern or Asian food I get the best results. Since the first time I made a tagine, I was in love with the mix of spices and how the correct balance of sweetness, acidity, sour, salty and umami can create something truly special.
I have tried this recipe with lamb and chicken when I used to eat meat, but now that I’m trying to be at least vegetarian, I thought this could be an amazing opportunity to adapt a delicious recipe into something incredibly healthy (and also use up the mushrooms I had in the fridge).
This dish is named after the pot in which it is cooked in. The bottom is round, while the top is conical, so all the condensation is able to get back into the dish. And while I never had the chance to make tagine in a tagine, it works very well in a regular pan. Another option is to recreate the cylindrical top with aluminum foil, that way, the idea of bringing condensation down remains.
Either way, the combination of spices, dried fruit, and vegetables is spectacular. There any many versions of this recipe, and I personally have tried more than one. In my opinion, as long as it is prepared properly, it will taste delicious.
So, without further ado, here is the magnificent recipe (can anyone tell that I really love tagine?). And if you are not vegetarian or vegan, you can easily substitute the mushrooms for the protein of your choice and the vegetable stock for any other protein-based stock. The only difference is the cooking time, which will be a little longer.
- 400 g mushrooms
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes (my crushed tomatoes were frozen, so I just chopped regular tomatoes)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 40 g ginger root grated
- 3 garlic cloves grated
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 pinch cumin
- 1 pinch coriander
- 1 pinch cardamom
- 1 pinch turmeric
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 4 Medjool dates cut in half
- 2 tbsp green olives sliced
- 3 tbsp golden raisins
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cut the mushrooms into small pieces, if using Button mushrooms, you only need to cut it in half. If you’re using a bigger variety, Portobello, for instance, cut it into bite-size pieces. Season with salt and pepper
- Heat a pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the mushrooms until they get some color. Place it in a bowl and set aside.
- In the same pan, add the remaining olive oil and sweat the onions until translucent. Add the grated garlic and ginger and sweat some more. Add all the dry spices and quickly cook them.
- Add half of the vegetable stock and deglaze the bottom of the pan.
- Add the rest of the stock, the crushed tomatoes, the sautéed mushrooms, the bay leaves, and the cinnamon sticks. Slowly bring it to a boil, lower it to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
- After this time, add the dates, raisins, and olives, cook for another 5-10 minutes (until the mushrooms are soft), and adjust seasoning.
- Add the chopped cilantro right before serving.