Sometimes, the best meals are the ones filled with ingredients and elements that remind you of the people who make you smile. Now frankly, I don’t think I could make just one dish that reflects ALL the people in my life who make me happy, but this tagine is a good start!
First, tagines will always and forever remind me of my dear friend, Stephen Swinnerton. They are his signature, his territory. The first one he ever made for me was beef and the tenderness blew me away. The most recent one he made me was pork, at which point I sussed this tenderness was no fluke, but a delicious result of the patience and care that goes into tagine cooking! He bought me my own for Christmas and it’s been kicking around for a while. Finally, the time arrived for me to give it a go with a few special ingredients of my own!
Within the ingredients list are the other special elements that remind me of people who make me smile. There is the chorizo and oregano, given to me by the fabulously Spanish Diana Requena, and the chillis, carefully grown to an adorable size here in our home by my father! Finally, I experimented with a little chipotle paste… Chipotle will always remind me of Eric Cartman.
- 2 pork steaks
- A friendly amount of chorizo- sliced or diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, diced
- 2-3 carrots, chopped
- 2-3 chillis, chopped
- 500g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tomatoes, quartered
- About 100g of couscous- plain or flavoured, the choice is yours!
- 2 peppers- red and yellow- diced
- 1 chicken stock cube
- Salt, pepper, oregano and paprika
- Chipotle paste
- 1 more carrot, shreddred
Let’s get cooking!
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 (fan)
2. In your tagine, put a small amount of oil and place your onion, garlic, chilli and chopped carrots. Season with a little salt, pepper, oregano and 1 teaspoon of chipotle paste. Stir, then place in the oven, uncovered. Leave for 5 minutes, remove, stir, then return to the oven.
3. Leave that cooking for another 5 minutes, and use this opportunity to slice your pork steaks into strips. As for the chorizo, I had been gifted these lovely slices brought to me all the way from Spain- they had a good strong flavour and I’m not ashamed to admit that, following being unwrapped, only half the contents made it to the tagine.
I cut these slices into quarters, but you may choose to do something different depending on the style of the chorizo you get. I would also be up for chunky diced pieces if I was cutting straight from the sausage!
4. Retrieve your tagine from the oven and place your pork and chorizo inside. Stir so everything is combined, then pour your tinned tomatoes over the top. Add the chicken stock, 60ml of water, stir, then place the lid on top and return to the oven. Leave for about 1 hour.
5. Fetch the tagine again and carefully remove the lid. Stir the contents, then add your mixed peppers and the couscous. Stir again, re-cover and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes.
6. Retrieve from the oven again. The couscous should have fluffed up, following the absorption of the liquid within the tagine! Stir, then top with your quartered tomatoes. Re-cover and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven for the last time. Stir in your shredded carrot. I also topped it with a little extra oregano because I am loving the oregano right now.
8. Relax and enjoy!
There’s certainly no obligation to use couscous in this dish- many people cook the meat up in a variety of juices and vegetables and serve alongside potatoes and green beans, for example. But something I loved about this dish was that “one pot” simplicity- when it was ready, all I had to do was scoop and enjoy the miracle of the veg remaining crisp while the meat was the champion of tender. To top it all, the presence of raw carrot and tomatoes, and the crispness remaining in the cooked veg, keeps this a reasonably healthy meal!
It was even nice when it was cold, so was great for lunch at work that week!