Friday, June 24, 2011

pumpkin tagine

Here it is, my latest go-to recipe. Even on a warm summer night, I couldn't resist a hot bowl of this incredible vegetable stew. It's rich with pumpkin and beans, full of warming spices, and just a little sweet from the dried plums. It's worth the extra effort of finding ras al hanout (a Moroccan spice blend) or making it yourself, as I did; the dish just wouldn't be the same without it.

Pumpkin Tagine (adapted slightly from What to Cook and How to Cook It)

1. Soak two cups of dried lima beans overnight (I suspect you could use cannellini beans or chickpeas here and it would be lovely), or use the quick-soak method (bring to a boil and then let sit for an hour, covered). Then cover in clean water and simmer for 45 minutes or so, depending on the bean, until slightly undercooked. Drain.
2. In a large skillet or pot, saute two chopped onions and 4 chopped cloves of garlic in some olive oil until soft. Then stir in 5 teaspoons of ras al hanout (recipe below) and cook another minute. Add 14 oz. of diced tomatoes, fresh or canned, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 cups of vegetable broth, and the beans. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the beans are tender but not soft.
3. Chop 1 pound of pumpkin or squash into bite-sized chunks (I used kabocha, my favorite, but you could use butternut or something similar) and add to the pot along with 3 sliced zucchini and 3/4 cup of prunes. Simmer another 20 minutes, until it's good and saucy and all the vegetables are cooked through. Add 2 teaspoons honey, maple, or other sweetener, and serve over couscous with a bit of cilantro to garnish, if desired.

Ras al Hanout
Note: all spices should be ground to a powder
Combine 1 teaspoon each nutmeg, coriander, cumin, ginger, turmeric, salt and cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon each sugar, paprika, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon each cayenne, cardamom, and allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.

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