Wednesday, November 19, 2008

on-set torture: squash & chickpea tajine

When you make food television, sometimes you sit around all day tortured by delicious aromas they you just CAN'T. EAT. YET. This recipe tops the list because not only did it take forever before all the shots were done, this incredibly aromatic dish was persistently gnawing at my senses, insisting that I would love anything that smelled like that. Cinnamon, cumin, garlic, onions, wafting, all over the studio, driving me crazy.

This recipe was also responsible for a rather exciting first day back on set, as Aida sliced her finger while chopping up some preserved lemon. I discovered that glopping on liquid bandage wasn't really going to work if it just kept bleeding and bleeding and the blood was diluting the liquid bandage. Then I discovered that the blood clotting spray in the first aid kit was a joke but might have made us giggly. Then I discovered that our EP Matt was strong and could possibly break Aida's finger while trying to apply pressure. Then I discovered that the tannic acid in a wet tea bag works as a natural coagulant. The more you know. Recipe after the jump:


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick
1 pound butternut squash, large dice
3/4 pound red potatoes, large dice
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
Pinch saffron threads
1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped
1 cup brined green olives (recommend: Cerignola)[note: I used Moroccan Oil-cured olives because they were pitted, cheaper, and Moroccan, which I thought was fitting]
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, for garnish
Toasted slivered almonds, for garnish
Plain Greek yogurt, for garnish
Steamed couscous, for serving

1. Heat butter and olive oil in a 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tightfitting lid over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add onion, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spices are aromatic and onions is just soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add squash and potatoes, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir to coat, and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add broth, chickpeas, tomatoes and their juice, and saffron. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until squash is fork tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in preserved lemon and olives. Serve over couscous garnished with cilantro, almonds, and yogurt.


sharilyn said...

well, i hope everyone survived, 'cause this dish looks yummy!! :) and what was with that previous post photo of the broken arm?!?!?! whose WAS that?!

faycat said...

That is my boyfriend's arm! He broke it last week and is getting surgery on Monday.

Regina said...

I took this great class over the weekend that you guys might be interested in.
Here is the link: