Today's Spice (mix) is Ras el-Hanout
First of all, how fun is the name "Ras el-Hanout"?? Very fun.
This would be a good name for your next dog.
This picture is sort of dark, but maybe you can make out the beautiful dried rose petals in there?
I got this spice mix from a PPK swap, maybe it was GPope who sent it to me? I actually have another package of Ras el-Hanout from Whole Foods in my cupboards, but after reading the ingredients list on each package, I could see that this one was The Real Deal. It was full of spices we don't use often in the west - like galangal and rose petals - so I was intrigued. Ras el-Hanout is a spice blend from Morocco and is used in many traditional dishes.
After copious time surfing the net for R e-H recipes, I decided to make a Moroccan tagine dish with my special Ras el-Hanout. I looked at many recipes and found some different ideas... and ended up with this.
It was hearty and delicious. I loved the big chunks of veggies, especially since they are cooked until quite soft - they can be large without being difficult to eat. The spicing was just wonderful... warm, but not spicy hot. Also, sometimes with spice mixes, you just end up with an all-purpose "spices" flavor, but this mix really had a distinctive (and yummy) flavor that I loved. I could make this again and again. Plus, the whole thing was ready in under and hour, which is always nice!
Here's a loose recipe for you:
Vegan Moroccan Tagine with Ras el-Hanout
A little oil (I used about 1 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 cups of dry Soy Curls, reconstituted in warm veg broth for 10 min, then drained
3 medium carrots in big chunks
1 large yellow onion in big chunks
1 potato in big chunks
1 Tbsp fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, drained
handful of raisins (I left this out, because Mr. VE&T doesn't like raisins, but raisins are very common in tagines!)
juice of one orange
2 cups veg broth
salt & pepper to choice
1 Tbsp ras el-hanout
1 cup couscous + 1 1/2 c water
Cut up your veggies and such. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add a little bit of oil. Add in the soy curls and saute until lightly browned (+/- 10 minutes). Remove them and set them aside. Now, add the carrots, onion, potatoes, garlic and ginger with a little more oil back into that same big pot and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions have softened a bit. Next add in the Soy Curls again, along with the chickpeas, optional raisins, orange juice, veg broth, S&P, and ras el-hanout. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes (or longer if you have the time).
While your tagine is simmering, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil in a smallish pot. Once boiling, pour in the couscous, stir well, turn off the heat, and cover. When your tagine is ready, take a fork and fluff up your couscous. Then serve with a mound of couscous on the bottom and a generous dollop of the tagine stew on top.