Spicy vegetable tagine with baked eggs

16 Sep

You know that horrible feeling you get when you arrive home from work, having set your heart on a tagine for dinner, only to discover that you’re all out of ras el hanout? Jesus, I hate that feeling.

‘Twas what Woman faced this evening when she came home and found that the Moroccan spice mix was no longer in the cupboard. Will need a trip to the Moroccans in Finsbury Park to address the issue.

But not stumped, I decided to make up my own spice mix. It’s not ras el, but it’s still quite tasty – and a fair bit spicier. Although this dish can take spice, because you can soak it up with couscous, yoghurt and eggs.

This recipe makes enough for a dinner and leftover lunches for two.

Tagine spice mix

  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 (small) tsp salt

Veg mix

  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 large red onion chopped very roughly (ideally into wedges)
  • 1/2 head of broccoli, chopped into largish little trees
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped into thick pieces
  • 1/2 fistful of butternut squash or 2 small carrots
  • 2 eggs
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander or parsley

Heat oven to 160C.

Traditionally with a tagine you’d heat the clay base up over the fire (or the hob with a diffuser underneath the base), adding the spices and garlic to cook in oil for a while. But as the tagine always starts to smoke and smell funny on our glass hob, I did the heating up in a regular saucepan, adding the tomatoes and checking for flavour then transferred it to the tagine, covering all the veg. (It might not look like enough liquid to cook the veg, but let it be. All the veg will release their own liquid and it’ll be right, love).

Once all is mixed up, put the lid on and chuck it in the oven. Really, the longer the better. I’d cook it for at least 45 minutes, but tonight I cooked it for closer to 1.5 hrs. It seems like a long time, but mostly it’s all done in 5 minutes before you put the beast in the oven.

5 minutes before you’re ready to eat, crack 2 eggs on top of the veggie mix, cover again and put back in the oven.

Serve with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon over the eggs, and chopped fresh herbs.

(Omitting the eggs will still make for a good dish – and veganize it!)

Estimated cost (for four): £2.30

Musical accompaniment: Jolie Holland


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