Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lamb Tagine in a Whole Roasted Pumpkin

Cutting a "pie pumpkin" is difficult, but the rest of the recipe is pretty easy, and it looks fantastic when brought to the table!

Adapted from Leite's Culinaria (online)

For the whole roasted pumpkin--
One 4-pound cooking ("pie") pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the lamb tagine--
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, well trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
3 tsp thai sweet chili sauce (or 1 tsp harissa, or tabasco, or other spicy sauce, to taste)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
One 15- to 19-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
Hot cooked couscous, for serving

Prep the pumpkin in advance, but do not put it in the oven to bake until ~2 hours before serving

1. Using a sturdy paring knife, cut into the pumpkin top around the stem to create a lid about 6 inches in diameter. Lift off the lid and set aside. Using a large metal spoon, scrape out the fibers and seeds from inside the pumpkin and discard them. (If you wish, remove the seeds from the fibers and reserve the seeds for roasting.)

2. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Place tinfoil on a rimmed baking sheet and spray with Pam.

3. Season the inside of the pumpkin shell and lid with the salt and pepper. Return the lid to the pumpkin and place the pumpkin on the baking sheet. Bake until the inside of the pumpkin is tender when the interior flesh is scraped with a spoon (remove the lid to check), about 1 1/4 hours.

While the pumpkin bakes, make the lamb tagine
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the lamb with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In batches, add to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. (The lamb should be rare at this point.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a plate.

2. Add the broth to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring to release the browned bits in the bottom of the pot. Pour the broth into a large glass measuring cup or heat-proof bowl and set aside.

3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pot and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the ginger, cinnamon, and crushed hot pepper and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and half the reserved chicken broth (about 1 cup), and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Return the lamb and any collected juices to the pot, and stir in the garbanzo beans. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook just until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Transfer 1/2 cup of the remaining broth to a sauceboat or small bowl and stir in the chili paste/harissa/tabasco to make a very spicy seasoning sauce for the finished tagine. Set the spicy sauce aside.

5. To serve the lamb tagine, carefully transfer the roasted pumpkin to a serving platter. Remove the lid, ladle in the tagine, and replace the lid. (There will be more tagine than can fit into the pumpkin; just reserve it in a serving bowl.) Present the pumpkin at the table. Spoon the lamb tagine onto individual plates, and scoop out the pumpkin with the tagine (atop or next to the couscous); add the spicy sauce to taste.

Spicy Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Adapted from a recipe I found online

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs
1/3 cup Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 c sweet Thai chili sauce (or combination of sweet Thai chili and sambal oelek if you like it spicier)

1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1. Place chicken (trimmed of visible fat) into slow cooker.
2. Mix together peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, and chili sauce; pour over chicken.
3. Cook on Low 8 hours or on High 4 hours.
4. Serve 1 piece of chicken and sauce with chopped peanuts and cilantro as garnish, and 1/2 c rice on the side.

Weight Watchers = 6 points per serving

Remember that you won't be using all the sauce, so the calories and fat that are listed are higher than what you will actually be eating!

Number of Servings: 6