Friday, 18 January 2008

Tagine of pumpkin and chickpeas

So, how are those preserved lemons coming along?

I made mine earlier (in November, in fact), so they were just coming good when I decided to make this happy tagine for a friend who sometimes takes the same train as me in the morning. He suffered a not-so-minor health setback a few months back, so I wanted to make something that would be both cheery on a cold winter's night and virtuous, health-wise. This tagine was just the ticket. Although it sounds and tastes a bit exotic, it is a total doddle to make (just don't tell my friend (g)).

I originally got the recipe from the website of The Age, but it shows up on Cuisine as well (where you can see how it looks when a professional photographs it (g)). While I suspect this may not be authentic Moroccan, it is in the Moroccan style and the preserved lemons are Moroccan through and through so I will tag it "Moroccan". If authenticity is an issue, stay tuned as Moroccan is one of my all-time favourite cuisines, and I will come back to it and the preserved lemons again before too long.

I've made this a few times before, so for a change, I decided to make it a bit chunkier than usual. And since I had some yummy sweet winter carrots, they made it into the pot as well. What did not make the pot was the saffron--my own fault, for not reading the recipe properly--but the tagine was no worse for it.

I served it with rice as a main course following the "two dips" in the post below, and everyone was pleasantly full at the end of the meal.

Tagine of pumpkin and chickpeas

1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/4 tsp saffron threads, steeped in 100ml hot water
500g pumpkin, peeled and cut into large pieces
2 waxy potatoes, peeled and cut in half
half a 400g tin tomatoes [Saffron: I didn't need a spare half tin so I threw the whole lot in]
2 zucchini, sliced
1/2 a preserved lemon, chopped
cooked cous cous or rice, to serve
1/2 cup yoghurt
1/2 cup coriander leaves

Put the chickpeas in a pot with plenty of cold water and boil for 30 minutes. Drain.

In a large pot, heat the oil and butter and cook the onion and garlic until soft and lightly golden. Add the spices (except saffron), cook for a couple of minutes, then add the partially cooked chickpeas, saffron, pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes and just enough water to cover. Season with salt and simmer gently until the potatoes are almost soft (about 30-40 minutes). Add the zucchini and preserved lemon and cook for 5 more minutes or until the potatoes and pumpkin are soft (but not mushy).

To serve
Serve with cous cous or rice and a dollop of yoghurt and some freshly chopped coriander. If you like it hot, serve a little harissa on the side (available at delis and some supermarkets).

Serves 6.


No comments: