sweet potato and carrot tagine



i made this for lunch one day when i was working from home a few weeks ago. i've been wanting to use the tagine more often, and found a recipe that seemed pretty tasty to me. i'm always on the lookout for recipes involving sweet potatoes, because a long time ago I watched a show on the Style Network about skin and skincare, and one of the nutritionists who was interviewed said that they are one of the better-for-you vedges. however, i do fall into the Savory Sweet Potato Camp, meaning i prefer my sweet potatoes in savory dishes. we never had sweet potato pie or sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows at our Thanksgiving dinners when i was growing up, so i don't have an affinity for sweetened sweet potatoes like some people have. to me, the idea of sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows makes my teeth ache; however, i will not knock it until i try it. and i might try it one day; just not now, and not today.

this recipe errs on the somewhat-sweet side, but not unpleasantly sweet for my taste. i found the use of prunes intriguing, and besides, their after-effect is always welcome as long as you eat them in moderation (if you catch my drift huhuh). if you don't have a tagine, you can use a Dutch oven or a heavy bottomed pot with a lid. this made enough for several lunches, served with pita wedges.

i made the vedge stock while on a conference call. who says i can't multitask? vegetable stock takes but an hour to make, and more than likely you do have all the ingredients on hand in your "rotter" drawer. it freezes beautifully as well, and makes a great base for a brine. i suppose you could use chicken stock in this recipe, but sometimes it won't hurt you to use an all-veggie stock.

i think this would be a welcome addition to anyone's Thanksgiving table if they were craving something a little more unusual than the regular sweet potato fare.

Tagine of Sweet Potatoes and Carrots in Honey Sauce (Tagine Batata Hloowa)
adapted from "The Vegetarian Table: North Africa", by Kitty Morse


30 frozen peeled pearl onions
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large, even chunks
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 and 1/2 to 1 and 3/4 cups veggie stock (see recipe that follows)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup pitted prunes
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Heat butter and oil over medium high heat in tagine. Add the onions and cook until thawed and tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the onions and set aside.

Add the cubed sweet potatoes and carrots, and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. once browned all over, add stock, honey, cinnamon, ginger, prunes, salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and stir until blended. Cover tagine, reduce heat but keep it simmering for at least 30 minutes. Check after 30 minutes to see if vegetables are cooked through; it may need more time. Top with the pearl onions you set aside earlier; replace lid for a couple more minutes.

In the meantime, toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat (be careful not to burn them). Set aside. When ready to serve, turn the heat off, remove lid from tagine and top with sesame seeds.




Veggie Stock


2 large onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 or 4 celery ribs (leaves removed), cut into chunks
4 or 5 whole peeled cloves of garlic
2 or 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
a handful of peppercorns
bouquet garni (i used leftover parsley stalks, some fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves, all tied up with twine)

Toss all of the above ingredients in a stock pot. fill with water until vedge is covered. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or chinois into another large pot or huge bowl. and there you have it, your very own veggie stock.

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