Sweet Potato Tagine, a Beaker, and Thou
People who fail often have a great story to tell, but those who persevere have even better ones- like Sister Madly’s great-grandmother: she was a bootlegger.
Married at 15, she began by making moonshine, and when Prohibition rolled around she tried her hand at bathtub gin. There are vague tales of her early clientele becoming extremely sick and nearly blind, but like a crusader she shrugged off these minor miscalculations, retained her sense of humor and forged ahead to become quite the successful bootlegging moll.
It was with this same intrepid spirit that Sister Madly made a spicy Sweet Potato Tagine with Listeria tainted onions one Friday afternoon. She claims not to have known that the onions were tainted until an automated phone call informed her so at precisely 6:08 the following morning. Automated Phone Call Button Pusher is now at the top of her revenge list.
There was no illness as a result, and all vision loss amongst the diners was most assuredly a pre-tagine condition. But that is not to say the Listeria did not have an effect; in fact, it was the secret ingredient that made the tagine a gastronomical success. It was pure magic.
Although succeeding tagines have proven to be quite delicious, the magic has yet to be duplicated. While there are less toxic means of achieving this, Sister Madly is breaking into labs at night and coming home with all sorts of microbes (flu, norovirus, some sort of sinus-inhabiting organism that is apparently long-lasting) but all have proven to be poor substitutes for Listeria. This past weekend, she turned up with only a minor headache in tow and a couple of glass beakers, which she has taken to drinking out of while plotting Automatic Phone Call Button Pusher’s demise.
Perhaps Sister Madly would have benefited from some sort of culinary course- or at the very least a spice book- rather than this ‘Divinity Degree‘ from Miskatonic U- which as done nothing but encourage her to engage in a lot of no good.
SWEET POTATO TAGINE
- 4-6 chicken thighs, cubed (opt)
- 2 sweet potatoes, cubed
- 2 carrots/parsnips, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped,
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped (despite what Sister Madly says, Listeria IS optional)
- 4-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or enough to cover)
- 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp Ras El Hanout (homemade recipe here)
- 1 lg. pinch saffron, crushed
- 2 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tbsp honey, or to taste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Sauté onion, garlic, and carrots/parsnips in butter until soft
Add Ras El Hanout and sauté 30 seconds
Add pepper, ginger and chicken, mix until blended
Add sweet potatoes and zucchini
Cover with broth, bring to a boil
Add saffron and boil for one minute
Reduce heat and cover
Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
Simmer, uncovered, for another 10-15 minutes
Stir in honey
Simmer to set flavors, 5 minutes
Add lemon juice and coriander *
Stir and serve
* Sister Madly often adds arrowroot at this stage, but this is optional.
POST’S THEME SONG: Little Drop of Poison, Tom Waits