My Chickpea Tajine is chock-full of delicious stuff:
Dates, Swiss chard, almonds. Does this sound fabulous and nutritious or what?
I just spotted fresh dates!
I grin 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.
In Morocco the avenues are lined with majestic palm trees. So 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. So of course 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. It was all decided: I would make a vegetarian menu, drawing liberally from Moroccan flavor influences. Trust me, this dish needs no meat or poultry, it is really powerful!
Chickpea tajine makes for a very substantial vegetarian 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 chickpeas. In this case, add all the way at the end of cooking.
Play with other leaves to make chickpea tajine:
Spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, etc…
- 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained.
- 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
- 2 cups fresh dates (settle for dry), pitted and quartered
- salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish: 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds or sesame seeds (substitute seeds if you can't have nuts or seeds)
cook the chickpeas in water 45 minutes. Drain and reserve.
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.
Makes 8 servings.