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Cous cous & fig tagine

with zucchini & saffron

Serves 8 as part of a banquet

Preparation 10 minutes
COOKING TIME 25 minutes

Recipes Hannah Meppem and Cushla Barry
Food Styling Hannah Meppem
Wine Matches Peter Bourne
Photography William Meppem


2 eschalots, peeled and diced
¼ cup olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fresh turmeric, finely grated  
½ tsp hot paprika
¼ tsp chilli flakes
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 zucchini, sliced into thick rounds
1 can chickpeas, drained
80g dried apricots
80g dried figs
500ml hot chicken stock
200g cous cous
pinch of saffron
50g butter
1 tbsp harissa paste
juice and zest of 1 lemon

TO SERVE: roasted baby carrots, labneh and fresh coriander


1 Preheat oven to 200°C.

2 Place eschalots and half the oil in a large ovenproof dish. Add cinnamon, star anise, ground ginger, turmeric, paprika and chilli. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 5 minutes.

3 Add zucchini and toss to coat in spices. Return to oven and roast for 5 minutes.

4 Add chickpeas, apricots, figs and half the chicken stock. Cook for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens and dried fruit softens.

5 Mix cous cous in a bowl with remaining oil, saffron, butter, harissa, lemon juice and zest and season with salt and pepper. Pour over remaining stock and allow to stand covered for 10 minutes.

6Fluff with a fork to separate cous cous. Spoon onto a large platter and top with zucchini and chickpea mixture, and coriander. Serve with roasted baby carrots and labneh.

Wine Match

2017 Castro Martín Sobre Lias Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain, A$39

Morocco lies to the south of Spain, sharing many of its ingredients and flavours. There’s plenty of wine made in Morocco but it’s mostly drunk by the non-Muslim locals. Pairing a Spanish white with this spicy tagine brings together these disparate neighbours. Albariño’s textural palate acts as a lynchpin between the sweetness of the figs and spiciness of the star anise. The wine’s lemon pith flavours and brisk acidity cuts through the tagine’s richness, leaving the palate clean and refreshed.