Make Ahead

Big Zombie Goes Butternuts

October 14, 2010
0 Ratings
Photo by pierino
Author Notes

Recently I had to cook for a "community" dinner, and here there is always that hopeless vegetarian faction, so I brought out the Big Zombie tagine for a butternut, chickpea, dried fruit side course. This was all improvisation but it does follow the rules of a good tagine. If you don't have a tagine (the actual cooking vessel) I would recommend a deep casserole, preferably earthenware. Serving size can be doubled or more. You'll also need to prepare couscous to accompany. —pierino

  • Serves 4 or more
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 can, chickpeas (garbanzo)
  • 1 cup, cauliflower florettes, cut or separated
  • 1 cup dried prunes or dried apricots or a combination of both
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup skinless almonds, marcona preferred
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinammon (or cassia), use a mortar and pestel if you can...
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • salt and pepper
  • Dried couscous
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
In This Recipe
  1. Peel, seed and dice up the squash into chunks about 1" per side.
  2. Combine your dry spices together in a pie pan. Use a fork to blend together as they will all go in at once.
  3. In the bottom of your tagine warm up some extra virgin olive oil (PLEASE don't call it #@!~#g EVOO!!!!)
  4. When the oil is hot add the squash and the garlic and turn with a wooden spoon until lightly colored.
  5. Add the chickpeas, cauliflower and the spices and continue to turn the mixture. Season with salt and pepper and then add the stock.
  6. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour. Meanwhile give the almonds a rough chop in a food processor. As the dish gets close to finish (when the squash is tender), stir in the almonds and dried fruits and recover. That means put the lid back on.
  7. Start the couscous to package directions.
  8. Taste for salt and pepper. Finally, plate the tagine over individual servings of couscous or allow your guests to do it themselves.
  9. Note to cooks: you can also add chopped preserved lemon or sliced okra to the mix (if you're not an "I hate okra" weenie). You might also keep some harissa on the side as a condiment.

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Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.