|Packed and ready to take for lunch.|
- The first time I made it following the recipe it looked nothing like the picture. I appreciate the BBC's description of wrapping it up in "voluptuous folds" of filo dough, but baby, there was nothing voluptuous about those folds when I did this--more like skimpy and unconvincing. Maybe filo sheets are bigger in the UK. This was a lot of work for not enough return, as the filo layers mostly just fell off once you started cutting into the dish.
- Filo dough is a pain in the patootie to work with. I love the flaky layers but I can stand to wait for my next piece of baklava to experience them. That's also a very time-consuming step and if that's stopping you from experiencing the flavors in this dish, it shouldn't.
- By leaving off the whole filo step I also eliminate a lot of butter, making this a healthier recipe.
- Leaving off the filo leaves me free to serve this over a bed of any type of cooked grain I choose. It becomes a gluten-free recipe without the filo and you can keep it that way. So far I've served it over brown rice, quinoa, and farro, and all of these were delicious.
- I made it a lot faster and eliminated some of the clean-up by dropping the hummus-making step and just throwing in all the ingredients of the hummus. The hummus didn't really work well for me anyway in the elaborate layering plan--you're spreading something smooth over something lumpy and then it's all wrapped up and doesn't show, so what's the point?
- Once I dropped the filo step I also eliminated an additional baking step, making for a faster prep. Note that I had to cook the squash longer and at a higher temperature than the original version in order to cook it enough.
Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas and Squash
- 2 t. each coriander and cumin seeds (Out of the actual seeds? Toast the ground spices briefly in a dry pan.)
- 1 t. paprika
- 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 t. salt
- 4 T olive oil
- 900g squash, peeled, seeded,* and cut into small chunks (about 2cm) (this is a butternut squash on the smallish side)
- 2 T olive oil (I've toyed with the idea of using coconut oil here for flavor, although it would increase the saturated fat. If you do, tell me how it turns out.)
- 12 shallots, quartered (~12 oz.—roughly equivalent to one onion, which I use since I usually don't have shallots on hand. Red onion would be especially nice.)
- 4cm/1½ in piece root ginger, finely chopped (~15-16g, or around 1-1/2 T)
- 140g whole blanched almonds (1 cup)
- 140g shelled pistachios (1 cup)
- 75g dried cranberries (2/3 cup)
- 2 T clear honey or maple syrup (which would make it vegan)
- 225g fresh spinach, preferably baby spinach (one of those plastic boxes of spinach has 170 grams so get lots; you could always serve this over fresh spinach instead of a grain)
- Can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (425g)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
- 1 t. ground cumin (If you like things pretty spicy and you're not adding the Yogurt Harissa Sauce, increase cumin by 1/2 to 1 t.)
- 3 T lemon juice, or zest and juice of one fresh lemon
- 4 T chopped fresh coriander
- 2 T chopped fresh mint
- 200g carton Greek yogurt (1 cup)
- 6 T milk
- 3 large sprigs mint, leaves chopped
- 2-3 T harissa paste
Flavor note: This is a savory-sweet and fairly mild dish when made without the Yogurt Harissa Sauce. You can oomph up the flavors with the addition of more cumin, as noted, and you might want to add 1/2 to 1 t. ground black pepper. Increasing the lemon would also zing it up. I've considered drizzling a fruity balsamic vinegar over the top; I have a bottle of fig balsamic that calls out to be used this way.
*Save the squash seeds. I drop them into a small bowl with water to cover because someone once told me to--I have no idea if this affects the way they bake up. After you take the squash out of the roasting pan and mix it with the chickpea/spinach step, separate the seeds from the stringy squash guts and spread them in the pan, tossing with what remains of the seasoned oil. Roast around 9-11 minutes or so. When you hear them start to pop like popcorn, take them out. Crunchy goodness that you might even want to sprinkle on top of this recipe.
|Layered with quinoa and farro.|