Is there anything better on the internet or TV other than cooking shows? Well, maybe: football (love me those Patriots), Jeopardy and The Biggest Loser (yes I admit it, I love that people are changing their lives but don’t necessarily love the fast process in which they are made to get there).

Awhile back, I mentioned that I would be experimenting with dishes from around the world.  One of my favorite new cooking shows that recently aired was Around The World In 80 Plates.  Although the “Amazing Race” aspect of the show was a little hokey, the exposure to different ethnic cuisine was a hit in my opinion.

Tagine, which was featured on the show, is a North African dish that can differ from one area to another.  Simmered slowly in a tagine earthenware pot, this dish can contain meat or not with a variety of vegetables, fruit and spices. My recipe combines both a Moroccan and Tunisian flare.

Ras el hanout and Harissa are two similar but different mixtures of seasonings that you may come across in many Tagine recipes.
Some ras el hanout mixtures combine over 100 different spices. How great is that? Of course, I had to try to make some version of that to accompany this dinner! Sadly, not able to find red chili peppers, I improvised with a small assortment of spices common to ras el hanout recipes. The result was a dish that was mild in spice and which should appeal to adults and kids alike.

Also, many recipes call for fruit such as apricots, raisins or lemon.  I chose to omit those for my first go round.  Next time, I plan on adding apricots.

This is a quick and easy recipe that serves 6-8.

Ingredients:
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp caraway seeds
3/4 cup dry red lentils
1 vegetable bullion, soaked in 1/4 cup of boiling water
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 red pepper, chopped to bite size
4 carrots, chopped to bite size
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 cup cooked chickpeas (I soaked and cooked 1/2 of a 16 oz bag. Used 1 cup for this recipe and the rest for hummus)
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 cup dried apricots (optional)
grain of your choosing, (I chose long grain wild rice)

Directions:
Add onions, garlic and caraway seeds to a large pan with cooking spray or water (coat the bottom) and cook for a few minutes on a low setting until translucent.  Add lentils, stir and cook for another minute.  Add vegetable bullion soaked in boiling water.  Add sweet potato, red pepper, carrots and spices and cook for 10 minutes on a low setting, add water if necessary.  Add tomatoes, chickpeas and 1 cup of water and cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender on a low to medium setting. Serve over couscous or grain of your choosing. I will probably choose brown rice or quinoa in the future for the nutritional benefits.

Do you have a favorite ethnic cuisine?  Please leave a comment or share a recipe if you like…

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