Harvest Tagine

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided

2 Apples, Cored and Sliced

2 Small Parsnips, Peeled and Cut into 4-Inch Long Sticks

1 Large Red Onion, Cut into Wedges

2 Medium Red and/or Orange Bell Peppers, Seeded and Cut into 4-Inch Long Sticks

1 Medium Delicata Squash, Halved, Seeded, and Sliced into Half-Rings

1 1/2 Cups Baby Carrots

1 Teaspoon Salt, Divided

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

4 Cloves Garlic, Sliced

2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika

1 1/4 Teaspoons Ground Cumin

1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander

3/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric

1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

28-Ounce Can Fire-Roasted Crushed Tomatoes

1 14-Ounce Can (1 3/4 Cup Cooked) Chickpeas, Drained

1/2 Cup Green Olives

3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley, Roughly Chopped

1/4 Cup Toasted Pepitas

Toasted Golden Couscous

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Cloves Garlic, Minced

2 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Couscous

3 Cups Vegetable Stock

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease 2 - 3 sheet pans.

Begin by breaking down all the apples, parsnips, onion, bell peppers, and delicata squash, and laying them out on the prepared sheet pans, along with the baby carrots, in one even layer. Drizzle evenly with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and all the black pepper. Roast for 50 - 60 minutes, rotating the pans every 20 minutes or so, until evenly browned and fork-tender. No need to flip as long as you adjust the sheets on higher and lower levels as you spin them around.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large stock pot over medium heat on the stove. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown and highly aromatic, stirring frequently to prevent the pieces from burning; about 5 - 7 minutes. Sprinkle in all of the spice and mix well, toasting for just 1 minute to unlock their full flavor potential. Quickly deglaze with the crushed tomatoes, scraping the bottom of the pot with your spatula to make sure everything is fully incorporated. Bring up to a simmer and add the chickpeas and olives.

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for an additional 15 - 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, give it a taste, and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, if needed.

For the couscous, set another large pot on the stove over medium heat. Add the oil and garlic, and cook until golden. Add in the couscous next and stir well, coating that granules with oil and toasting until the mixture smells wonderfully nutty and garlicky. Pour in the vegetable stock and stir in the turmeric. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat. Let sit, undisturbed, for 15 minutes until the grains have absorbed all of the liquid. Fluff with a fork before transferring it to the bottom of a large ceramic tagine (or casserole dish fit for serving table side.)

To complete the tagine, cover the couscous with the chickpea stew and arrange the roasted vegetables attractively on top. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and pepitas, and serve immediately, while piping hot.

If you'd like to prepare the tagine in advance, you can make the entire assembly up to 5 hours before serving. Cover and store in the fridge. Reheat in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 15 - 30 minutes, depending on how conductive your serving dish is. Just check periodically to see if it's hot all the way through.

You can also create the individual components up to 2 days in advance. Just store them separately in airtight containers in the fridge. Be sure to re-fluff the couscous before proceeding with the rest of the construction.

Makes 10 - 12 Servings

©Hannah Kaminsky http://www.BitterSweetBlog.com