chicken tagine with pumpkin and chickpeas

Chicken Tagine with Pumpkin and Chickpeas from A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

For the Chickpeas
1 pound (2 cups) dried chickpeas picked over and soaked overnight in cold water
1 large onion
1 cinnamon stick
a few cloves
olive oil
pinch of ground cinnamon
chopped parsley

To cook, drain and put in saucepan and cover with 3 quarts of water, add onion, cinnamon stick, cloves, splash of olive oil and little salt.  Bring to boil and simmer gently uncovered for an hour or until tender.  Leave chickpeas to cool in the cooking liquid.

Our Shortcut:  We used two cans of chickpeas in their juices with a bit of water and added the seasonings as indicated. We simmered these for about 15-20 minutes until tender.

For the Tagine
4 pounds of pumpkin or winter squash, seeds and membranes removed
salt and pepper
12 large whole chicken legs with thighs
3-in piece of ginger peeled and grated
2 tsp cumin seeds lightly toasted and ground
4 large onions
2 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp butter
6 garlic cloves sliced
large pinch of saffron
red pepper flakes or cayenne

Cut the pumpkin or squash into thick slices and spread on flat surface, season with salt and pepper.  Season chicken legs generously with salt and pepper and massage them with grated ginger, sprinkle cumin seeds, set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a skillet over medium, sauté the diced onions in butter and olive oil until softened.  Season with salt and continue cooking until golden about 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and add garlic, crumble saffron over onions, stir and season with red pepper.

Arrange onions in shallow casserole or dutch oven then top with pumpkin slices.  Top with chicken legs in one layer skin side up.  Add 3-4 cups chickpea cooking liquid barely covering chicken.  Cover and bake for 20 minutes until liquid is bubbling briskly. Reduce heat to 375 and continue to cook for another 30 minutes or until chicken legs yield to probing fork.  Take casserole from oven and remove chicken legs, skim any surfacing fat.  Return chicken legs and return to oven uncovered.  Bake until juices are bubbling and chicken legs are lightly browned about 20 minutes.

Warm chickpeas in their cooking liquid and then drain and put in bowl, swirl with a little butter, the cinnamon and chopped parsley.  Drizzle harissa oil for a touch of spice.