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.
- Dry fry the cumin and coriander in a frying pan and then grind in a pestle and mortar.
- Halve the preserved lemon and remove the seeds, chop finely.
- Heat the olive oil in a wok or large casserole and fry the onion until translucent.
- Add the garlic, halved chilli and spices and stir-fry for a few minutes, until the spices are fragrant.
- Add the potatoes, preserved lemon and fennel and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
- Pour in the stock or boiling water, enough to cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes and the sauce has thickened.
- 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).
- Remove the cinnamon stick, chilli and bay leaf.
- Add the lemon juice and pomegranate syrup to taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Garnish with lots of fennel tops or freshly chopped parsley or coriander.
- Serve with cous cous and harissa.