Vegetable Tagine with Couscous

(2 votes)

1 bundle of asparagus, trimmed
1/2 pound haricots verts (small french green beans)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
5 stalks celery, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced, plus 4 large carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch chunks
2 large leeks, white and light green part cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced
12 large mushrooms, quartered
6 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored and seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 green bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
5 japanese eggplants, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
7 medium, red new potatoes, quartered
6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup water
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons minced fresh italian (flat-leafed) parsley
4 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 boxes (12 ounces each) couscous
1/2 cup hot water, almost simmering, but not boiling

Bring a pot of water to a boil; add asparagus and cook until just barely tender. Drain and refresh with cold water. Drain again; set aside.

Bring pot of water to a boil; add haricots verts and boil until cooked tender-crisp. Drain and refresh with cold water. Drain again; set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or pot, add oil. Heat on high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Add onion, celery, 2 thinly sliced carrots, and leeks. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and celery is lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, bell peppers, 4 carrots, eggplant and potatoes. Add tomato paste, 1 cup water, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to boil; lower heat and simmer, covered, until all vegetables are very tender and sauce thickens, about 30 to 40 minutes. Should have a stew-like consistency.

Stir in parsley and basil. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Place couscous in a large bowl. Pour 1/2 cup water over top. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss.

Presentation: Place couscous on large serving platter. Top with vegetable tagine mixture. Allow to sit 10 minutes before serving, so that the couscous can absorb some of the liquid. If you have excess juices, serve them in a sauce boat on the side. Garnish with reserved asparagus and haricots verts.

Makes 12 servings.

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