There was a reason I featured Moroccan tagine in my Vegan MoFo posts last year: I rarely make middle Eastern food despite being intrigued by it.
Today's dish borrows from the tagine I made last year, but features a hefty dose of impromptu creativity too. I doubt it's the best ragout ever made and I make no claims to its authenticity (I am using 'middle Eastern' loosely!). However, I enjoyed it and am keen to record it for future reference. I particularly liked the dates and the balance of vegetables relative to beans relative to spices.
I started off with the idea of a carrot-based dish and so this features quite a lot of carrots. In the end, though, all of the ingredients played a role and carrots were one of many contributors. I think I'd like this with aubergine / eggplant in the mix too.
The dates were delightful in this and studded the dish with sweetness whilst balancing the spices beautifully. I used a mix of standard dried dates and medjool dates but whatever you have would be fine. Dried figs or apricots could be substituted if you prefer.
Middle Eastern spiced bean and date ragout
An easy meal to jazz up mid-week dinners
Author: Bite-sized thoughts
Drizzle olive oil
1 large brown or red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp dried powdered cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried powdered ginger
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika
1/4 cup + 1/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 medium carrots, diced
2 peppers, diced
2 cups cooked beans (I used borlotti but haricot / navy, chickpeas or kidney beans would also work well)
2/3 cup dates, chopped
Rice, to serve 4
In a large pan, preferably one that has a lid, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the onion is golden and fragrant, add the spices and saute for a further minute.
Add the 1/4 cup water, lemon juice, carrots and peppers and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to cook for 20 to 30 minutes, covered if possible, stirring occasionally.
Add the cooked beans and dates as well as extra water as needed (the mix should be quite thick but I found I needed nearly 1/2 cup water over the cooking time). Keep over very low heat for a further 5 to 10 minutes before serving with the rice.
Do you eat much middle Eastern food? Any suggestions for things I should try?