Whenever the snow flies and my little cabin gets colder, I try to warm myself with exotic foods. This past April, my husband and I traveled to Morocco and, as usual, happily ate our way through the country. One hundred cups of tea and 20 tagines later, we were fully satisfied, but definitely ready for some vino and jamon in Spain.
Moroccan food is flavorful, vibrant and simple. The various baskets of spices scattered throughout the medinas are impossible to avoid for their mere beauty. We purchased 30-spice and 40-spice blends. One is for seasoning fish, and the other for more hearty meats such as chicken and lamb. The spices have provided for many quick meals; however, I was curious to try an “American” version of Moroccan food to see how it compared. I came to three major conclusions after cooking this recipe.
First, the flavor is in the quinoa, which I highly doubted would matter. Second, this recipe tastes quite similar to our 30 spice. And lastly, I am kicking myself for not buying a tagine in Morocco. Apparently the clay used to make tagines in Morocco makes for the absolute best clay-cooking device in the world. And I missed out! I guess I will have to go back.
This recipe is the last installment of my series featuring quinoa, the ancient grain that agrees with almost everyone. Moroccans would never eat this dish with quinoa. They do not use utensils, but rather this hearty circular little loaf bread to sop up all the tagine goodness.
My first bite of this dish brought a smile to my face, as it is so similar to what we ate. A classic roadside stand will serve a base of potato, onion and carrot with whatever meat you choose. This recipe uses butternut squash, which is a nice change from the potato. This recipe could also easily handle a meat addition such as chicken.
Top 5 health reasons you should eat this:
- Turmeric — The curcumin component can lower plaque buildup in brain, thereby possibly lowering incidence of Alzheimers
- Garlic — Builds immunity for flu season
- Cayenne — Boosts metabolism
- Vitamin A- —Plays an important role in vision, bone growth, reproduction, cell division, and cell differentiation. It’s found in brightly colored foods such as carrots and butternut squash.
- Quinoa — Anti-inflammatory and good for healing those ski legs
This is the recipe I use: