Ideally this dish from Food for Friends is best served in individual tagine dishes or in a large one with a lid that can be brought to the table
"Ideally this dish is best served in individual tagine dishes or in a large one with a lid that can be brought to the table – however, any clay or ceramic ovenproof dish will do if it’s covered with foil. The important thing is to use the dish at the table, as by changing to another you will lose some of the flavour; it will also cool down a lot more quickly. The domed lid of a tagine is there to collect the steam, allowing it to condense back into the stew and stop the dish from drying out."
For the herby couscous
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan, and sweat the onions and celery. When they are soft, add the chopped garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Then add the tomato purée and cook for another minute. Add the stock, bring it to the boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Take the four individual tagines or dishes (or one large dish) and add the carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato, new potatoes, apricots or prunes, and cinnamon sticks. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and juice, paprika, parsley, coriander and brown sugar or honey, and then add the stock mixture.
Place the lids of the tagines on top, or alternatively use foil. Cook slowly in the oven for 1½ –2 hours, by which time all of the vegetables should be cooked through.
For the herby couscous, place the couscous in a large bowl, add the olive oil and mix well. Pour the warm stock over the couscous and then cover the bowl with a lid or plate for 10 minutes to allow the couscous to absorb the stock without losing heat.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan and dry-fry the flaked almonds for 1–2 minutes or until they are golden brown, to give them an extra crunch. Take the lid off the couscous and make sure that all of the stock has been soaked up, then add the spring onions, tomatoes, parsley, the dryroasted flaked almonds, raisins, mint and coriander. Mix through, using a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring the tagines straight to the table, and remove the covers. Serve with herby couscous.
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