Mourad Lahlou’s Recipe for Vegetable Tagine With Poached Eggs and Herbs
This healthy stew of vegetables topped with poached eggs may just be the ultimate New Year’s resolution food. Chef Mourad Lahlou of Aziza in San Francisco has streamlined his recipe to make it quick and easy but no less soulful and satisfying
By Kitty Greenwald Updated Jan. 8, 2015 in the Wall Street Journal
“MOST PEOPLE in Morocco have a diet that is protein heavy, and vegetables are a second thought,” said Mourad Lahlou of his native cuisine. In his final Slow Food Fast contribution, the chef turns this equation on its head. Potatoes, carrots, shallots, turnips and tomatoes simmer along with fresh herbs, spices and preserved lemon. Eggs cracked into the pot poach right in the stew.
The Chef: Mourad Lahlou
His restaurants: Aziza and a yet-to-be-named place due to open in January 2015, both in San Francisco
What he is known for: Turning out classic Moroccan dishes as well as inventive North African-inspired tasting menus, always with the freshest Northern California produce.
The chef conceived of this recipe when thinking of ways to lighten up kefta tagine, a Moroccan braise in which meatballs and eggs simmer in tomato sauce. “I wanted to take the meatballs out,” he explained. “With this meal, the vegetables come first.”
Mr. Lahlou freely adapts the recipe depending on what he has on hand. “I have found that making this is a great way to clean out the refrigerator,” he said. “Plus, it only gets better the next day, no matter what has been thrown into it.”
As we step into the new year with the best of intentions—to eat more healthfully, maybe even to commit to Meatless Mondays—this is a handy recipe to have on file. But Mr. Lahlou insists there is nothing austere about this stew. “It’s a soulful dish,” he said. What better way to ensure that those resolutions stick?
Vegetable Tagine With Poached Eggs and Herbs
Total Time: 40 minutes Serves: 4
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ½ tablespoon sweet paprika
- ½ tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 2 cups canned diced tomatoes, with juice
- 6 tablespoons tomato purée
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- 9 small potatoes, cut into 3-by-1-inch pieces
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 3-by-1-inch pieces
- 2 medium turnips, cut into 3-by-1-inch pieces
- 4 small shallots, halved lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1½ tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup diced preserved lemon peel
- 4 eggs
- Finely chopped chives, for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Half of lemon
Holiday Cocktail Recipes From Aziza
1. In a small bowl, combine salt, paprika, coriander, cumin, white pepper and Aleppo pepper. Heat ¼ cup oil in a lidded large pot over high heat. Sauté garlic, canned tomatoes and tomato purée and paste with spice mixture until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
2. Add potatoes, carrots, turnips, shallots, half of parsley, cilantro and 2 cups water to pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until vegetables soften and sauce thickens, 20 minutes. Stir in preserved lemon, cover pot and simmer until flavors meld, about 7 minutes.
3. Crack eggs over top of stew, spacing them out evenly across the surface. Reduce heat to medium, cover pot and poach eggs until whites set but yolks remain runny, 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parsley, chives, salt and pepper.
4. To serve, ladle stew into 4 serving bowls and top each with a poached egg. Drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.