One of my first vegan cookbooks, Vegan Planet, was an epic tome by Robin, and it has 400 recipes! And yet, she has still managed to put out book after book after book with hundreds more recipes. Hell, in the past few months, I've received three Robin books to review. I don't know how she does it, but I'm glad she does.
Her latest work, Vegan Without Borders, is a full-color collection of recipes from across the globe. There are chapters on Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Asia. And many of those are broken further down by country — Italy, France, Spain, the U.S., China, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. I can't afford to travel outside of the U.S., but I feel like this book can at least help me pretend. The best part about traveling is the eating part anyway.
So many recipes called my name — chickpea salad-stuffed Fattoush Wraps from the Middle East, Pissaladiere (caramelized onion tart) from France, Baked Eggplant Fries from Greece, Butternut Mac & Cheese from the U.S., Chimichurri-Grilled Vegetables from South America, and Kofta Meatballs from India.
After much deliberation, I finally settled on Africa and Robin's recipe for Vegetable Tagine.
Isn't it beautiful? Tagine is a traditional Moroccan stew made in a clay pot. But this recipe requires no special pot. It's loaded with sweet potatoes, chickpeas, kale, bell pepper, onion, carrot, tomatoes, and (my personal fave) green olives. There's a touch of sweetness from the dried dates and apricots, and there's a ton of flavor, thanks to ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, and cayenne.
I also attempted to make Robin's recipe for Injera, that awesome African spongy bread. It's notoriously difficult to make. The teff flour mixture has to ferment for several days. I'd always been too intimidated to even try making it, but Robin's recipe looked simple enough. Sadly, I believe either my yeast had gone bad or my hot water wasn't hot enough. And my injera was a fail. I don't blame the recipe though. There's some magic to injera-making, and I just didn't have it.
But the tagine came together in a breeze. And Robin's publisher has generously allowed me to reprint her recipe here. But first, a giveaway! Leave a comment at the end of this post letting me know which country's cuisine you favor the most. Be sure and leave an email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll close out the giveaway on Tuesday night (November 11th). Good luck!
|Here's the gorgeous picture of Vegetable Tagine and Injera from the book.|
Serves 4 to 6
Fragrant spices and dried fruits are key to this Moroccan stew traditionally made in a pot by the same name. Tagine pots are typically made of clay, often painted or glazed. It has a flat circular base and a large cone-shaped cover that is designed to circulate the condensation. A Dutch oven or other large covered pot may be used instead. Serve the tagine over couscous or rice accompanied by a smal bowl of Harissa Sauce for those who like it spicy hot.
1 tablespoon olive oil or ¼ cup water
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne
6 cups chopped kale (thick stems removed and discarded)
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups vegetable broth
⅓ cup dried apricots, halved or quartered
3 pitted dates, halved
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
⅓ cup pitted green olives, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or parsley
Heat the oil or water in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, sweet potato, bell pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, salt, and cayenne. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to bring out the flavors. Add the kale, chickpeas, tomatoes and their juice, and broth. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
While the tagine is cooking, soak the apricots for 30 minutes in hot water. Drain, cut in half, and add to the pot, along with the dates, peas, olives, and lemon zest. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro, then taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
From Robin Robertson's Vegan Without Borders: Easy Everyday Meals from Around the World,
by Robin Robertson/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC.