(Tavo cooked a pork chop while I puttered about with my squash)
The recipe I'd grabbed said, "Eggplant Tajine" but I couldn't pass up the big fat squash sitting in front of me. Actually, the only eggplant at the Krogers were organic, and I didn't feel like shelling out the dough after already paying more than a dollar for a green pepper(!!!) Regardless, this is not what comes to my mind when I hear Tajine. This does:
I loved Morocco, and have tried ridiculous amounts of times to recreate the dishes I ate there. The only thing that is similar in this dish are the spices, so henceforth, I refuse to call this dish a tajine.
Interestingly--it was after spending a month in Morocco when I was in my early 20's that I realized I knew how to make VERY LITTLE completely from scratch. I mean, I didn't know what spices to put into the beans, what comes in the packet called "fajita" or the bottle of "stir fry" sauce? How do I take a bag of flour and make it bread? The United States is extremely oriented on convenience foods, and it rendered me useless. No kraft dinner, canned spaghetti sauce, or those gravy packets existed. I came back, after quite a few dismal attempts at guessing which spices would taste like what (skin-gee-bah is ginger in Arabic, cumin is cumin, thank God, Allahu Akbar, you know what I mean)
This was a real turning point in my cooking, and quickly led me to stop buying convenience food and flavor packets. I got to know many spices not only by name, but by what foods they enhanced, and how they smelled. I remember, in Morocco, just smelling these huge piles of spices and trying to guess which ones would work. No vendor knew the american english names of spices--why would they?
I also made sure to research the food names, local dishes, and bring a few recipes that would fit those when I went to Mexico and Brazil.
I'm rambling--but just by posting this, I'm really appreciative of how far I've come in the last 10 years.
Squash Non-Tajine--unless you use some some ceramic and a preserved lemon ;)
2 T olive oil
1 large sweet onion
4 cloves garlic
1 chile (I used a serrano)
Butternut Squash, baked (350 for 45 min.)
2 t. coriander (ground)
2 t. cumin
1 t. red pepper flakes
28 oz. can whole tomatoes, squished
chopped cilantro and parsley to garnish
-Sautee onion until translucent, add garlic
-add peeled, baked squash (cubed), chile, coriander, cumin, red pepper, tomatoes
-cover and cook for 20+ minutes. You can do this in the oven, too, if you prefer
-serve over couscous (and if you're good, you can roll it into a ball and pop in your mouth)
I'm going to eat it with flatbread.
Make sure not to use your left hand to eat with!