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Archive for the ‘stews and casseroles’ Category

Kate G complained that I need more recipes in my blog about cooking.

Given that I am travelling at the moment, I am doing more eating out than cooking at home. This is the inverse of the ratio for back at the ranch in NZ.

One of my current favourite things to cook are tagines. A tagine is both a form of Morrocan stew; and the type of earthenware dish it is cooked in. Typically these are surprisingly simple dishes to knock up with very little prep work. A lamb or meat tagine usually involves cubing the meat, chopping and dicing things like onions, raw. Tossing the lot in a mixing bowl with a little oil and the spices. Then chucking it into a tagine, covering with water, and simmering for an hour or so till done. No browning. Nothing. The meat is super tender and delicious and I would usually serve with cous cous. You can use a deep, covered fry pan as I did last night.

However using a real tagine dish to cook this in does actually make a difference. The whole point is that the meat is braising and steaming. The high conical lid traps the steam in with the food and both locks in moisture and flavour, and speeds up the cooking. You do use the earthenware tagine on the stovetop although I confess I was a little nervous the first time I tried mine on my gas stove (see banner of the blog – that’s my stove!) I was convinced it would crack. What I do now is to start it direct over the gas and then put a simmer mat underneath to spread the heat more evenly.

So last night I whipped up a monkfish tagine last night for Edward and Sarah which was delicious. It was a bit more elaborate in process than my standard lamb one. And I had to compromise and do it in a large pan not a tagine.

So just for Lady G, a recipe: here it is.

Monkfish tagine

Chermoula ingredients (kind of a herby, spicy paste which gives the Moroccan flavour).
2 garlic cloves
tsp course salt
2 tsp of ground cumin OR toast your own seeds and grind your own (what I’d do at home)
1tsp smoked Spanish paprika
juice of a lemon
small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1T olive oil
The rest of the ingredients
900g monkfish, cut into good sized chunks [if you cannot get monkfish ask your fishmonger for something solid that will hold its texture and shape in a stew or curry]
15-20 small new pototoes, scrubbed or peeled (I imagine you could use 3-5 larger ones in winter and slice)
3-4T olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
20 cherry tomatoes
2 green capsicum, grilled until black, skinned, seeded and cut into strips
large handful of black olives
about 100ml water (I used boiling water and added a pinch of saffron)
salt and pepper

The chermoula:  using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic with the salt to a smooth paste. Add the cumin, smoked paprika, lemon juice and coriander and grind some more. Don’t fuss if it is still a bit leafy. Mix in the olive oil to emulsify slightly. [If you don’t have a mortar and pestle – don’t panic. I didn’t realise Sarah had one till too late last night so had a crack at seriously tiny chopping of the garlic etc by hand which seemed to work fine. I then just mixed it all together.]

Toss the monkfish chunks in a bowl with about 3/4 of the chermoul and reserve the rest. Leave the fish for about an hour to marinade.

Par boil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes, until slightly softened. Time it! Drain, refresh under cold water to cool, drain again. Cut in half lengthways and lay on the base of your tagine or heavy based shallow pan.

Meanwhile heat the olive oil in (another) small heavyish pan and add remaining garlic until just starting to colour. Throw in the cherry tomatoes and toss around a bit till starting to soften. Add the remaining chermoula and the peppers and toss some more for about a minute. You can season this mixture with salt at this stage – or leave people to season their own one it is served. It is pretty flavoursome anyway.

Now assemble the tagine: layer 3/4 of the tomato mix onto the potatoes. I add cracked pepper at this point. Layer the fish onto the tomato mix. Then add the remaining tomato mix to the top plus the olives. Add the 100ml of water. Finally drizzle the tagine with a little extra olive oil. Cover the mixture and simmer on low to medium depending on your stove for 15 minutes or until the fish is tender and cooked through.

Serve with fresh crusty bread to mop up the juices.

A photo is coming. My camera was flat so Edward used his and will forward it to me. He got a bit carried away with the posing of the food so Sarah and I just dug in and got on with it.

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