Tagine of vegetables with charmoula couscous fritters

Yield: 4 servings

Measure Ingredient
2 teaspoons Olive oil
1 \N Red onion; cut into wedges
2 \N Cloves garlic; crushed
8 \N Baby carrots; fat; scraped
1 teaspoon Ground coriander
2 teaspoons Harissa paste; or alternative
1 tablespoon Tomato puree
1 pounds Sweet potatoes; orange-fleshed
\N \N Peeled and cut into chunks
2 \N Baking potatoes; peeled
\N \N And cut into wedges
2 \N Zucchini; thickly sliced
\N \N On the diagonal
⅞ pounds Chopped tomatoes; drained
1⅞ cup Vegetable broth
3 tablespoons Chopped fresh coriander
1¾ ounce Couscous
⅜ cup Hot water
1⅛ ounce Fresh cilantro
1 small Garlic clove
3 tablespoons Olive oil
½ teaspoon Ground cumin
½ teaspoon Ground coriander
2 tablespoons Pine nuts; toasted
1¾ ounce Feta cheese; finely diced
2 mediums Eggs; beaten
5¼ ounce Fine white bread crumbs
2 tablespoons All-purpose flour
\N \N Vegetable oil; for deep-frying
\N \N Salt and pepper
\N \N Fresh cilantro; to garnish



1) TO MAKE THE TAGINE, heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic, carrot and ground coriander and cook for 5 minutes over a moderate heat until just beginning to brown. Add the harissa paste and tomato puree and cook for a further 2 minutes.

2) Add the sweet potatoes, potatoes and courgettes and stir together. Cook for 2 minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes, stock and fresh coriander. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes until the vegetables tender and the sauce has thickened.

3) Meanwhile, place the couscous in a large bowl and pour over the hot water. Leave to soak for 10 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and fluff up with a fork.

4) Place the coriander and garlic in a small blender with the olive oil and spices and process to a thick puree. Add to the couscous along with the toasted pine nuts and feta. Season to taste and bind with half the beaten egg and half the bread crumbs, to form a firm mixture. Shape into 12 small balls. Dip each into the flour, the remaining egg, then the remaining breadcrumbs to coat evenly.

5) Heat the oil until a piece of bread turns golden in 60 seconds, and fry the fritters for 3 minutes until crisp and golden -- you may need to do this in batches. Drain on paper towels and keep hot while you cook the remainder.

6) Season the tagine to taste. Center a portion of the tagine on a plate.

Place fritters (about 3 per serving) around the tangine. You may wish to halve each fritter; keep the halves together on the plate. Garnish with the fresh cilantro.

42% cff. PER SERVING: 643 Calories, Fiber 6g, Carbohydrate 81g, Fat 30g, Protein 17g.

Paul Gayler, executive Chef, The Lanesborough Hotel, Hyde Park Corner, London. Paul draws on flavors from around the world, especially the Orient and the Mediterranean -- he calls his style 'Eurasian'. Cookbooks: Virtually Vegetarian (Harper Collins); Great Value Gourmet (Orion Books); A Passion for Cheese (Kyle, Cathie). And there are two more books this year: The Ultimate Vegetarian Cookbook (Dorling Kindersley, due out in May 1999) and A Passion For Vegetables (Kyle Cathie, due in October 1999) Recipe featured in BBC Good Food magazine, March 1999.

NOTES : TAGINE is a traditional dish made in North Africa. It refers both to the food -- a type of meat, fish, vegetable or even fruit stew --and the traditional earthenware dish with a conical lid in which it is served.

CHARMOULA is a mix of fragrant herbs, spices, garlic and oil, used in Morocco to marinate fish, but here incorporated into crispy cheese-speckled fritters to provide a contrasting texture to the tagine. COURGETTES are zucchini. HARISSA PASTE, a Moroccan chilli paste, may be purchased.

Preparation: 20 minutes; Cooking: 40 minutes; Serves 4. Vegetarian, Entree, Entertaining, Restaurants. Units were converted from metric.

Recipe by: Paul Gayler, Exec Chef, Lanesborough Hotel, London Converted by MM_Buster v2.0l.

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