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Vegetarian Tagine with Fennel, New Potato and Green Olives

This is a versatile seasonal vegetarian tagine recipe that we like to make on our Moroccan courses. In autumn, we tend to turn towards fennel and potato, but you can make a vegetarian tagine from any seasonal vegetables you like. We love to use squash, sweet potato and carrots in the winter and aubergines with peppers in the summer.

The important element of the tagine is the dried fruits. You can use apricots, dates, or even sultanas or raisins if you like. The sweetness gives the dish its distinct flavour.

Fennel, New Potato and Green Olive Tagine

Vegetarian Tagine with Fennel, New Potato and Green Olives

Serves: 4

Dietary: Vegan, wheat free

Ingredients :

  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bulbs of fennel cut into thick slices
  • 250g baby new potatoes, halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red chilli, halved and de-seeded (not chopped)
  • 2 tsps Ras el Hanout (if not available increase the other ground spices by half or make your own Ras el Hanout)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 600ml boiling water or stock
  • 100g pitted giant green olives
  • 50g dried apricots (and/or dates) chopped in half
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pomegranate syrup to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • To garnish: a handful of fennel tops (the leafy fronds), dill or chopped fresh parsley or coriander

Method :

  1. Dry fry the cumin and coriander in a frying pan and then grind in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Halve the preserved lemon and remove the seeds, chop finely.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a wok or large casserole and fry the onion until translucent.
  4. Add the garlic, halved chilli and spices and stir-fry for a few minutes, until the spices are fragrant.
  5. Add the potatoes, preserved lemon and fennel and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
  6. Pour in the stock or boiling water, enough to cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes and the sauce has thickened.
  8. Add the olives and apricots and simmer for a further 5 minutes and take off the heat (if you leave the tagine to stand for as long as you can at this point the flavours will develop)
  9. Remove the cinnamon stick, chilli and bay leaf.
  10. Add the lemon juice and pomegranate syrup to taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  11. Garnish with lots of fennel tops or freshly chopped parsley or coriander.
  12. Serve with cous cous and harissa.

Fennel, New Potato and Green Olive Tagine