Feats of Clay
Tagines are a classic Moroccan dish, savory stews often cooked and served in conical clay pots called tagines. Traditional recipes abound, such as chicken tagine with olives, lamb tagine with prunes, and vegetable tagines with chickpeas, squash and carrots. It’s hard to go wrong with these dishes when you want something warming, re-arming, and filling on a chilly fall or winter day.
Thanks to the combination of spices both savory and slightly sweet, tagines are delicious and exotic for a simple stew. The abundance of spices also means that these stews pack plenty of health benefits. Turmeric (as we’ve often noted) has been cited as a spice that may potentially protect against cancer, and ginger has long been regarded as a potent health aid, good for fighting nausea and indigestion.
In this recipe, we substitute a Dutch oven for the traditional clay pot. The chicken gives the tagine a familiar healing quality (for body and soul), while the butternut squash brings a nutty flavor and creamy texture. Butternut squash, like other orange fruits and vegetables, is also high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that might help protect the body against free radicals.
The prunes become sumptuous when cooked--soft, sweet and tender. They also make this already nutrient-rich stew particularly high in fiber, which helps you maintain regular digestion during treatment.
Any tagine is excellent served alone, or along with a crusty loaf of wholegrain bread. But is particularly delicious with the Moroccan staple, couscous. Adding pistachios and lemon rind to the couscous is simple but gives the grain a distinctive air.