Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tomatillo Tagine and Cous-Wa

An unexpected crop of tomatillos + a jar of preserved limes made during the enthusiasm of summer = north african with south american ingredients.

The Tagine part:

2 onions, sliced
6 tomatillos, chopped
1 clove crushed garlic
2 frozen chicken tenders, cut up
1 large russet potato, in 1 inch cubes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander seed, ground
a generous shake each paprika and turmeric-it adds color
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
the fleshy part of 1/4 of a preserved lime plus about 1/4 tsp of the skin, minced very fine
hot pepper flakes optional
broth concentrate & water
kalamata olives or some olive mix you like.
olive oil for browning the onions

Brown the onions, tomatillos and garlic in a heavy saucepan. If it has a heatproof lid, you can do the traditional thing and finish the recipe in the oven, but I just did mine on the stovetop, so that's how my directions will go. When the onions are browned and the tomatillos are mush, add the chicken and the spices and lime. Cook until the chicken is almost done, then add the broth concentrate and potato, and add enough water to almost cover everything. Cook until the potatoes are done and you start to get some browning in the bottom of the pan. If it looks too watery, leave the lid off so it can cook down into a nice thick gravy. When you're about 5 minutes from done, add a handful of olives.

the Cous-Wa part:

And what is cous-wa? Another of Pete's recipes. His originally had basil and yellow peppers, I had no basil left, but tarragon and thyme make a good substitute.

1/2 c couscous
1/2 c quinoa
1/4 c diced bell pepper
1/4 c green beans -I used frozen
2 or 3 scallions, chopped
a dab of broth concentrate
olive oil
1 tsp mixed tarragon & thyme, minced finely
pine nuts-damn these are expensive these days! How long does it take to grow a frikkin' pine tree?!?!?

Brown the scallions and bell peppers in a bit of oil in a saucepan big enough to cook the grains in. When the onions are brown, add about 1 1/2 cups of water and a bit of broth concentrate. Bring to a boil, add the quinoa and cover. When the quinoa is almost done (it'll take about 10 minutes) check to make sure there's still about a half cup of liquid. Add a bit if necessary, put in the couscous & herbs, stir well and cover. Turn the heat off. The couscous will steam up in about 5 minutes and you can toss it up with a handful of pine nuts just before serving.

Garnish with mint for authenticity -hah- or parsley if that's what you got.

I am not a big fan of either couscous of quinoa by themselves. Too many dumbell college hippy recipes, I think. Curiously enough, combining the two made a very appealing dish. The quinoa makes up for the lack of textural character in the couscous, and the couscous ameliorates the peculiar musty flavor of the quinoa to a level that is piquant rather than obnoxious. Sometimes I remember that food like this has only been possible in the last 1/2 century, and then only for a very few of us. I feel lucky indeed.

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