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Archive for February, 2010

Tagine refers to the style of dish, and also to the type of earthenware pots these dishes are traditionally cooked in.  A stew-like dish with olives, Tagines are great dishes for winter.  In this version,  the Moroccan spices are warming and the butternut squash is hearty but not heavy.   Inspired by a dish I saw in Cooking Light magazine –  I ran with the idea.  Their recipe looked too salty and way too heavy on cumin and turmeric, and I decided to skip the chicken in favor of more squash.  Real Picholine olives really make a difference – please do not use jarred Spanish olives in this one!  Moroccan, Greek, French or Lebanese Olive Oil would work best here – other oils would be too grassy, or in the case of Spanish oil, too bitter and fruity.  You want something with a nice creamy nuttiness about it.  If you were really pressed for time, you could get pre-cut squash in the produce section or the freezer section, but in my book fresh is always better!

Moroccan Butternut Squash Tagine

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 3/4 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sea salt (omit if stock has salt added)
  • 2 cups salt free vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup pitted and halved Picholine olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped prunes/dried plums or  1/3 cup dried currants
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 box Whole Wheat couscous
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook, covered, until onions are soft – 6-8 minutes.  Add garlic and spices, cook for a minute to toast the spices, but do not brown the garlic or it will be bitter.  Mix in stock, squash, olives and dried fruit.  Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer about 15 minutes, or until squash is tender.  Meanwhile, follow package directions for the couscous, adding in 1 Tablespoon olive oil.  Stir in parsley to Tagine and taste for seasoning.  Fluff couscous.  Serve Tagine atop the couscous.  Serves 4-6.

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