Okay, not really. I was like, "What the hell is a tagine? It calls for dates...what are dates?" Dates are one of those things I'd heard of but never knew exactly what they were. But armed with information from a few helpful readers, I set off on an epic quest to find dates.
Except it was 75 degrees that day, so when I failed to find them at the closest grocery store, I abandoned my quest (a.k.a. a trip to Whole Foods) and went to the park with the boys instead. So I decided to use raisins* as a substitute for now. (I think figs would make a bangin' substitute, too.)
I modified the original recipe to an unrecognizable degree because it was way complicated -- a lot of steps, a lot of stove-vigilance, a lot of unfamiliar ingredients. So this is my super-simple version.
- one box of plain couscous
- 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cans of chickpeas
- 1 cup raisins, dates, figs, or dried apricots
- 1 tsp. ground cilantro
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 1/8 cup water
Saute everything but the tomatoes and water in a little bit of olive oil, until the chickpeas start to look a little more cooked. Then add the tomatoes and water, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
In a separate pot, cook the couscous according to the package instructions. I use instant couscous because it takes 10 minutes max, and I sprinkled a little salt and pepper in the water while it was setting.
Scoop it on and enjoy!
* Even though I hate raisins. Seriously, can someone explain their appeal? It takes nine years to chew them and even longer to wash the sticky residue off your hands. They're like a natural alternative to industrial-strength wood glue. Still, I took one for the team.