Moroccan Swiss Chard, Brussels Sprout and Date Tajine Recipe
Posted on 1st of October, 2013 by Lévana
This past week was the second time in a month I spotted fresh dates at produce markets, and I started grinning nostalgically at this unusual New York site, as if I had run into a long-lost friend, which of course I had in a way. Growing up in Morocco, where avenues are lined with majestic palm trees, we only needed to bend and pick up the dates fallen from their branches. What a heavenly treat! Last week I was shopping for my annual big bash which my husband and I host on the last day of Tishrei Yomtovim, and when I spotted the gorgeous dates in neat symmetrical rows on their stems dates I decided right there and then to give them the rock star treatment in my vegetarian menu, drawing from Moroccan flavor influences. The brussels sprouts add a welcome funky layer of flavor. Trust me, this dish needs no meat or poultry, it is really powerful!
This dish makes for a very substantial main course, so it is really worth the extra minimal step of soaking the chickpeas and partially cook them before adding them to the remaining faster-cooking ingredients. Still in a pinch I would say OK to use canned, all the way at the end of cooking.
1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight and partially boiled, about 45 minutes, reserved
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, cut in large pieces
2-inch piece fresh ginger
1 bunch flat parsley
1 small bunch cilantro, end stems cut off
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 bunches Swiss chard, stems and leaves, sliced thin (other dark leaves will be OK too: kale, collard, mustard etc…)
2 cups fresh dates (settle for dry), pitted and quartered
1 pound bag frozen tiny brussels sprouts
salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds or sesame seeds (skip if you can’t have nuts or seeds)
Heat the oil in a heavy wide bottom pot. in a food processor, grind the onion coarsely, and add to the pot. Fry the onion on a medium flame until very dark. In a food processor, finely grind the ginger, parsley and cilantro. Add the ground mixture to the pot, plus the cinnamon, and fry 2-3 more minutes. Add the reserved chickpeas plus all remaining ingredients and 2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium and cook, covered, 45 minutes. If the liquid in the pot is too thin, raise the flame and cook uncovered another 2-3 minutes, until the liquids thicken. transfer the mixture to a serving platter, and sprinkle with the nuts or seeds just before serving.