15 November 2013

Tajine de potiron, courge, ou patate douce

I posted about this a while back, but I had modified the recipe significantly. I made this tajine just with winter squash, onions, raisins, and spices, with a touch of honey (optional). The recipe comes from a little book called simply Tajines, published by Hachette in 2005 and written by Ghislaine Danan-Bénady.

We have had a huge harvest of winter squashes this fall. For this recipe, I used a 'buttercup' squash, but a butternut would be similar, or some pumpkin, or even sweet potatoes.The hardest part of preparing the tajine is cutting up and peeling the vegetables. A tajine is a kind of Moroccan curry, by the way.

Here's the recipe, in my translation:

Tajine of pumpkin with onions and raisins

2 lbs. of pumpkin (or butternut-type squash)
½ cup golden raisins
2 medium onions
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ginger (dried or fresh grated)
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. honey
Olive oil for cooking the onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the raisins to soak in just enough cold water to cover them for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and chop the onions.

In a tablepoon or two of olive oil in a pan, put the onions on low heat to slowly cook and melt down with the spices and the honey. Cover the pan and leave it on very low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cut up and peel the pumpkin, squash, or sweet potato. Cut everything into 1-inch cubes. Put the pumpkin cubes into the pan with the onions and add the raisins and the soaking water. Add more water as necessary. Stir everything together and set the pan on medium heat, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the pumpkin cubes are tender and cooked through. Serve.

To go with the pumpkin tajine yesterday, I cooked a whole chicken. I poached it, which is a very nice way to prepare a chicken (or any poultry) so that the meat is tender and juicy. Put the chicken into a large pot of simmering water or broth and let it cook at a low simmer for an hour. I stuffed some garlic cloves and celery leaves into this one, and I added salt and black peppercorns to the poaching liquid.

When the chicken was cooked, I took it out of the liquid (which is now a nice chicken broth) and set it in a roasting dish to brown it in the oven. I sprinkled red tandoori curry powder over it, along with salt and pepper, and then browned it in a hot oven for about 20 minutes. Deliciously tender inside and nicely crispy on the outside, it was really good.


  1. Never tried a finger-lickin'chickin this way...
    It sounds as though it would work well with a pintade, too...
    the local ones always cook out a bit dry. [May not this year, tho'!]

    Must try this tajine, too...
    we need pumpkin recipes...
    there's only SO much soup one can consume!!

  2. Pintade is good poached and then browned in the oven. I was once at a dinner where two French women agreed to disagree about whether pintade or poulet is drier. I've never found pintade to be especially dry, myself.

    The best pintade I ever cooked was one that turned out really good by accident. We were invited for apéritifs by neighbors (the mayor) and then we had friends coming for lunch. I cooked the pintade on the tourne-broche before we went for the apéros, and then I left it in the oven, turned off but still warm, for an hour or more (apéros can last a while). I made sure the pintade was breast-side down on spit while we were out. When we got back home, I turned the oven on again and re-heated the pintade. It was amazing -- juicy and succulent, not dry at all. I might never be able to replicate that accidental cooking method.

  3. We had the leftovers of the 'pumpkin' tajine today, with the chicken and some added chicken broth spiced with harissa chilli paste.
    Amazing. By the way, I increase the spice, compared to the amounts in the recipe, 2x or 3x. I use Moroccan ras-el-hanout but realize it is not available or easy to find everywhere.

  4. That chicken looks so crispy and tasty :)

  5. Ken, if you are cooking on a spit I can understand why it comes out less dry...
    we've got an old Moulinex mini oven-grill with spit and that turns meat around under the grill... it only has the grill element...
    and I have always found that that self-basted meat is the best!
    But, it needs getting out, placing somewhere, etc., etc...
    so the bird usually gets stuck in t'oven!!

    Pauline uses Russell Handout in her main pumpkin soup recipe...
    we don't seem to have much trouble finding it around here...
    ingredients are available readily, too.

    And I spotted fresh Turmeric root on sale yesterday in Chatellerault at the BioCoop...
    we've used it in the past and it gives a much nicer flavour than powder.

  6. I need to try cooking a chicken like that, having broth is always good. I'm making some sweet potato soup soon. Tis the season for lots of orange veggies.

  7. Hmm, just the other day I saw some pretty Tunisian pottery at a Marshall's at a really good price. I was tempted by the tajine pot, but I actually don't know how to use it. Tunisian pottery seems too fragile for cooking, so maybe it's just for serving.

    Tim, I disagree about how much soup one can eat. I could eat soup every day!

  8. I use hard squashes and sweet potatoes a lot in my cooking. I also have been using a slow cooker as I work in my studio at home and prep the evening meal after my lunch break.
    Try peeling squash and sweet potatoes with a carrot skinner and then either pre-cook the squash or potatoes in the oven halved, seeded and turned ex-seed size down in 1/4" water, or microwave to soften and make it easy to cut.

  9. Your photos always look so wonderful!

  10. You are too kind, Starman.

    Carolyn, the Vent de Sable restaurant in Paris 15e cooks its tajines in real tajines.

    Richard, I didn't want the squash to be cooked to a soft stage in the oven this time, but I wanted chunks of squash for the tajine. I usually roast squashes, either whole or split in half, in the oven, but without water. That makes a puree that can go into a cake, a pie, or a soup, or just be seasoned as a side dish.


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