This vegetable tajine is one of our favorites. It is a stew cooked in a traditional clay vessel called a ‘Tajine“. The tajine’s base is shallow and wide, while the lid is dome-like shaped. Its cooking method is very much like braising. It is put on a low flame, or coal, and requires little water.
Nutritional value of winter vegetables
Cauliflower belongs to the cruciferous family, which is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is a great choice for people on a diet as it is low in carbs and calories. Carrots are also well known for their high content in Beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in the body. They also contain other vitamins and minerals that are good for overall health.
When it comes to potatoes, many think that they only contain starch. The truth is potatoes are rich in vitamins, especially in their skin. However, there is a slight nutritional difference between varieties. It is better to mix it up and not stick to only one kind.
We all know that cooking destroys most of the nutritional value of vegetables despite it helping with digestion. However, not everything is lost when vegetables are cooked. It is mainly the water-soluble vitamins C and B that leach into the water when boiled. But if the cooking liquid is consumed, it might not be a total loss. Also, some vegetables are more beneficial if cooked. The bottom line is to mix it up between cooked and raw to obtain a balanced diet.
The original recipe calls for frying the cauliflower florets. While frying, indeed, makes things delicious, I am not an advocate. A few years ago, I started my journey to better eating habits, and eliminating fried food was the first step. But I had to figure out a way to compensate for the lost flavor.
I tried steaming the cauliflower, but it turned out bland. Then I tried roasting, which was a better choice. After cutting the cauliflower head into florets, massage them with olive oil. The latter brings an extra level of flavor. Place them then on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and transfer them into a preheated oven at 400F ( 200C). Roast for twenty minutes.
Don’t worry about seasoning the cauliflower. It will be added to the tajine later and basted with the sauce. I also roast the potatoes alongside the cauliflower. I used to add them straight to the tajine, but after trying roasting them first, the taste was much better.
What is next?
For this tajine, you are going to put chicken, any cuts you prefer, in the pot. Then add chopped onions, minced garlic, chopped parsley, cilantro, and preserved lemons. Drizzle some olive oil and spices over everything, trying to rub them into the chicken.
The spices are what make tajines unique. Salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, and paprika are first diluted in a half cup of water, then poured over the chicken. Add cut up carrots on top of the chicken, then cover and allow to simmer on a medium flame for ten minutes.
Once roasted, transfer the cauliflower and potatoes to the tajine. Using a ladle or a spoon, baste them with the sauce. Put the cover back and continue cooking for another twenty minutes, or until the chicken is done.
You can garnish the dish with some green olives. Enjoy it with crusty bread to soak up the juices.