As Jack and I progress through the craziness of wedding planning, we continue to receive many doses of the reality of planning such a big event, specifically, the cost of the day! So, in order to help defray the cost, we have decided to really buckle down and start cooking even more than we already do.
Our big day of savings began on March 1, so we tried to purchase all big expenses before the dreaded day, and one of those buys, was a tagine from Le Creuset, my beloved brand. We are very fortunate because we live close to the outlets, and know one of the clerks extremely well. She always gives us a deal when we visit, and we are very thankful for that- except then we always feel bad and have to buy something... not that I mind!
So what is a tagine? It is a Moroccan method of cooking involving a conical shaped lid that sits over a cast iron dish. The shape of the lid allows steam to continually flow throughout the contraption, which makes all of the food very moist and delicious. There are plenty of recipes in which you can make using the tagine, but we chose to go vegetarian by making a Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato tagine.
The recipe involves many African spices such as Cumin and Cinnamon, which really make the dish both savory and sweet. The spices blend together with the steam that is created and allow it to flow throughout the entire tagine. The end result was absolutely divine. I loved cooking using this method, and will definitely continue to use it very often in the future.
Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Tagine
adapted from here
1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), washed well, peeled and cubed
1 lb of Sweet Potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
pinch of cayenne
2 cups vegetable stock (I used chicken broth)
1/2 cup raisins (I did not use them)
1 tablespoon honey or agave
Cilantro leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 375F. Chop the sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
In a tagine or skillet, heat the oil on MEDIUM until shimmery. Add the onion and let cook, stirring often, until beginning to turn golden. Add the garlic and spices, cook for another minutes or two until fragrant. Stir in the broth, slowly at first, it will sizzle. Stir in the sweet potato and butternut squash cubes, top with raisins, if using, drizzle with honey. Cover and bake for an hour or until the vegetables are soft and aromatic but not mushy. (Check after 45 minutes) Remove the cinnamon stick, sprinkle with cilantro leaves, serve and savor.