Over this last year, I took a trip to Morocco. Not physically, but more through books. Inserts Reading Rainbow theme song here! “It’s in a book, just take a look!”
Every summer, I reset my culinary inspiration goal. A few summers ago it was jams and jellies, pickling, and Indian cuisine, with last summer landing me on Moroccan cuisine. And it has not disappointed. Not only the interwoven history of mixed cultural influences, commerce, and those beautiful blue tapestry, but their food is also unlike any other. Photos of their markets filled to the brim with tagine pots, and piles of spices make my little chef heart want to book a ticket so fast! But in the meantime, my spice cabinet collection grew persevered lemons galore, and a new tagine graced our already overfilled shelves.
One spice, in particular, caught my eye, ras en hanout. This is a spice blend that varies from spice merchants rumored to have a range of 20 to 40 spices blended into it. The translations of this spice mean “top shelf”, only to indicate that it is the very best in the shop. And luck may have it, randomly on one of my culinary adventures to a local shop, there was a jar of ras en hanout within my eye line. The stars had aligned and I was now charged for even more culinary happenings.
And one recipe in particular for this spice that became a fast favorite is the Moroccan Carrot Dip. I had tested it out in my Casablanca Date Night Class and the reviews were five stars. This dip is simple in ingredients but does require some time. The carrots are cooked low and slow for about an hour and a half. This slow roasting process helps to amplify the sweet flavor of the carrot to balance with the blend of spices. After the roasting time, it’s all pureed with tahini, lemon juice, roasted garlic, et voila! Moroccan Carrot Dip. This recipe is adapted from a Stephanie Izard recipe found in my expedition.
Moroccan Carrot Dip
- 2 pound carrots, peeled
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp ras el hanout
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup Tahini
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1 tsp fresh mint, chopped
- 1 Tbsp feta cheese crumble
- 1 Tbsp pomegranate seeds optional
- Peel carrots and cut into 1/2-inch chunks. Crush garlic clove and peel. leave whole. In a bowl, toss the carrots and garlic with ras el hanout, cumin, salt, and olive oil. Fold up foil to enclose carrots in a packet; crimp and fold edges to seal. Roast until carrots are very tender and beginning to break apart, about 1 1/2 hours. Carrots should be fork prick soft and tend Add additional cook time if not tender.
- Add tahini to food processor and blend on low speed. Scrape down the sides if needed. Add in carrots and their juices, a splash of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt, and puree until smooth, adding water as needed to loosen the dip.