A Moroccan Feast: Vegetable Tagine, Black-Eyed Peas Stew and Everyday Bread




I’m late catching the plane to Morocco for this month’s edition of It’s A Vegan World, started right here on Holy Cow! and hosted this month by the gracious Lavi of Home Cook’s Recipes. So I thought I’d make up for it by cooking up a feast.

It is not really a feast but more like every day Moroccan food. Still, it tasted so good to me, I couldn’t call it anything else.

There is a vegetable tagine here with tons of colorfully delicious vegetables. A stew made with one of my favorite beans– the rakish black-eyed peas. And a simple, utterly delicious and fluffy bread that was, honestly, the easiest bread I’ve ever baked (and I’ve baked a few), requiring just one single one-hour rise.

The natural flavors of these wholesome foods are infused and highlighted by the fragrance of herbs and some very simple spices, like cumin, paprika and anise.

All three recipes are loosely based on ones I found in the World Vegetarian which, as I’ve often said before, is one of my favorite cookbooks. Loosely because I changed many ingredients and some of the procedure based on what I had in my pantry and the time I had to cook.

Since I’m posting three recipes here, I’ll keep the chatter short. But this I’ll say– it was one of the most flavorful meals I’ve ever had.

Thanks, Lavi, for highlighting a country with a cusine so rich and wonderful. Enjoy, everyone!

Moroccan bread

Mix in a large bowl:

2 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup warm water

Let stand for the yeast to start “flowering” and bubbling, about five minutes.

Now add to the bowl:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I always use unbleached)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp anise seeds

2 tsp fennel seeds

Mix by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer set to low, trickling in warm water (about 1 cup) until combined.

On low speed, or by hand, knead the dough for another 8 minutes, until it is soft and smooth.

Prepare a baking sheet by greasing it lightly and sprinkling some corn meal on it.

Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly greased surface (I did this on my kitchen platform)

Pat out the dough to a disc about 1/2-inch thick.

Pick up carefully with both hands and transfer to the baking sheet.

With a very sharp knife, score a star or sunburst pattern in the center of the loaf.

Cover the loaf with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in height, around 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Now pierce the loaf on both sides with a fork, and place in the hot oven.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until the top has browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool on a rack. Cut into wedges and serve.

Vegetable Tagine

Slice thinly into rings or discs:

2 red bell peppers (capsicum), seeded

2 medium potatoes, sliced

4 carrots, peeled

1 zucchini

Set aside and prepare:

2 cups shredded green cabbage

1 bunch scallions, ends trimmed and green and white parts chopped

You will also need:

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp paprika

2 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp black pepper, ground

Salt to taste

1/4 cup coriander or cilantro leaves, minced

2-3 sage leaves, minced

7-8 shoots of garlic greens (optional)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup water

(A tagine, an unglazed clay pot, is typically used to make this dish, but I just used a cast-iron pan with an oven-safe lid. Be careful lifting it in and out of an oven because it tends to be heavy.)

In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, layer the vegetables in the following order, sprinkling equal portions of the cumin powder, paprika, pepper, salt, garlic, and the herbs over each layer:

Zucchini and carrots

Potatoes

Spring Onions

Cabbage

Red Peppers

Once you have sprinkled all the remaining herbs, spices and salt over the red peppers, mix together the olive oil and water.

Pour evenly over the vegetables.

Cover with a tight-fitting lid or with tin foil.

Place in a 350-degree preheated oven. Bake 60-70 minutes. In the last 20 minutes of baking, use a bulb baster or a spoon to scoop up liquid from the bottom of the pan and pour it over the veggies.

Serve hot.

Black-eyed Peas Stew

1 1/2 cups black-eyed peas, soaked and cooked until tender.

1 hot red dried chili

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

3 bay leaves

1 fresh sage leaf, chopped

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp garlic paste, or finely minced garlic (about 5-6 cloves)

Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a skillet

Add the chili, and when it turns a few shades darker, in a few seconds, add the garlic and stir for a minute.

Now add the black-eyed peas with any cooking water that’s left, all herbs, and salt.

Add water if needed, so the stew is fluid and not too thick.

Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Specks of oil will rise to the top of the stew.

Check for salt and turn off heat.

Serve hot with the bread and vegetable tagine.

For another great Moroccan stew, try out Holy Cow’s Chickpea Stew.

***
Michael Jackson’s dead, and the world is devoid of music, at least for a day.

Michael was one of my first connections with my adopted country, America, when I was a little girl growing up in Bombay. I would listen to his music all the time, any time, even when I sometimes couldn’t discern the lyrics sung in his quicksilver voice.

Later, it was a dream come true when I was among the reporters at the Telegraph assigned to cover the Michael Jackson visit and concert in Bombay in the mid-90s. While I hated covering celebrity stories, this was a huge exception.

My colleague Anita and I spent hours waiting to catch a glimpse of him in the lobby of the Oberoi Hotel when he arrived. With us in the crowded lobby — so crowded you could barely move an elbow– were thousands of guests from around the world, each one eager as a child. When we did see Michael, stepping out of the elevator, a shout of excitement went up in the lobby such as I’ve never heard before or since.

When his car was en route from the airport to the hotel, people lined the streets. People of all ages, people you’d think wouldn’t be interested in his music, so far from America. At one point, he got out of his car and danced with the slum kids of Bombay whose plight finally resonated in Hollywood last year with Slumdog Millionaire. It was a thrill not just for the kids, shouting “Michael, Michael,” but for every resident in the city.

At the concert, people passed out, which is apparently something that happened all the time at Michael Jackson concerts. A young woman who was plucked from the audience and called on stage became a tiny celebrity herself for days afterward, with every newspaper clamoring to interview her.

Years later, I saw Michael sing again, this time in DC, as part of the United We Stand concert to remember the September 11 victims. Many other musical stars had sung at the concert that evening, but no one else commanded the applause, awe and attention that Michael Jackson did.

What a loss this is for the whole world. We’ll always remember you, Michael.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Comments

  1. says

    Great feast ! Last week I got inspired and went to a local moroccan restaurant and had my fill of moroccan cooking…I dont feel like cooking anymore :)
    Its too hot to cook here..but Im inspired by your delish pics…

  2. says

    That’s definitely a feast Vaishali and I can vouch for the chickpea stew. Believe me or not that’s the most requested thing by my husband.

    Yes MJ’s loss is huge for his fans. Growing up I was never exposed to his music or much of anything Western. I came to know about him may be when I was in the 9th/10th standard around 1995. That too because of one of my classmates. She was a big MJ fan. Had tattoos been popular then she would have done that too. So when I heard about his death today my thoughts immediately ran to her, wondering what would her reaction be.

  3. says

    Wow thats a wonderful feast, loved the bread, looks so fluffy!! I am not a BIG fan of michael jackson but i do remember an incident where a woman fainted because she shook hands with him :) I do like some of his songs very much, truly he was a rockstar!

  4. says

    Wow what a feast Vaishali! Looks so tempting!
    And Michael Jackson’s death..what a tragic loss for millions of fans around the world!

  5. says

    Dips, it’s too hot to cook out here as well, but I just couldn’t resist this! :)

    Jodye, Pavithra, Superchef: Thanks.

    Madhuram, Thanks. And you’re right– MJ’s death is a huge loss for his fans. Your friend sounds like a fun gal :)

    Sharmila, it is 400 degrees Farenheit, which I think is 200 degrees celsius. Hope that helps :)

    Priya, Thanks!

    Parita, Thanks. What I also liked about Michael Jackson, in addition to his amazing genius, was how much of a humanitarian he was. His songs like Heal the World, Man in the Mirror and We are the World all spoke to making the world a better place.

    Pooja, Varsha, Thanks!

  6. says

    Oh Vaishali this sounds like heaven . I love moroccan food so much, & I have missed that this month was Moroccan! How did i miss it? I have some recipes i had done before & would have definitely done it this month:((

  7. says

    What a coincidence! I just posted a recipe with black eyed peas – chowli amti…

    The bread looks wonderful and so does the tagine and the stew – brilliant feast!

    I was a 22 yr old CA intern when MJ came to Mumbai and I still remember how psyched we were after the concert – stayed up till 4 am reenacting all the songs complete with “aaows” and “clutches” :) MJ – RIP

  8. says

    Excellent recipe and different too! Life has been very busy for me ever since the little one came into my life so I am not finding time as of now to post much recipes yet but some day I hope to continue my blogging and reconnect with you all. Until then I try to read new recipes such as this whenever I can.

  9. says

    a yummy feast on the whole. The pics are looking great too.

    First time to your blog and damn impressive. will be here often and your dish is next in my to do list. keep it going.

    Do take a look at my blogs when you find time.

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