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Moroccan tagine (v, gf)

A flavour packed, moderately spicy, slightly sweet stew for 4.
Vegan and gluten free.

Blender or food processor required.
Requires approximately 2 hours to prepare and cook.

Author: Adapted from a Moroccan tagine on BBC Food.

Original post (with pictures) here.

For the chermoula paste -

1 red or brown onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rice malt syrup (this replaces honey; other liquid sweeteners would work but won't give quite the same flavour)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp dried coriander

For the tagine -
1 tsp olive oil
3 red or brown onions, peeled and chopped
3 medium potatoes, chopped into medium pieces (no need to peel)
3 carrots, cut into chunks
2 red or yellow peppers, cut into chunks
1-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or white beans
12 dried dates, chopped
1-3/4 cups (435ml) water

Mint leaves, to serve, optional
Bread, to serve, optional

1. To make the chermoula paste, blitz the ingredients together in a blender or food processor. You should end up with a relatively smooth, thick paste.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 200'C (390'F). Depending on your dish options, you can either use the same casserole dish to cook on the stove top and then transfer the dish to the oven, or, use a separate saucepan on the stove before switching to an oven-proof casserole dish.
3. On the stove top, heat your dish over high heat and add the teaspoon of olive oil, onions, potatoes, carrots and peppers. Cook, stirring regularly, for 8 to 10 minutes. By 10 minutes, the onions should be lightly browned and the other vegetables starting to soften. Add a little water if the mix starts to stick.
4. If using two dishes, transfer your vegetables to an oven-proof casserole dish at this point.
5. Add the chickpeas / beans, chopped dates, chermoula mix and 1-3/4 cups water to the vegetable mix, in the casserole dish you will bake in. Stir well. Cover with a lid, or aluminum foil shaped into a dome to be used as a lid.
6. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to 160'C (320'F) and cook for another 30 - 45 minutes, until the potatoes are fully cooked through and the water has been absorbed.

Serve as is or with bread or a grain of choice, plus mint leaves if desired.