A North African tagine usually includes lamb, but what I love about the complex flavour profile is the sweetness that comes from the fruit, usually apricots, that’s used to balance the spice. Using naturally sweet butternut squash or even sweet potatoes instead of meat makes this recipe not only economical, but delicious too. I always serve this with herby couscous and some natural yoghurt with some harissa stirred through.
Roasted Butternut Squash Tagine
1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger, finely chopped or grated
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 heaped tsp harissa paste
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 x 500g carton of tomato passata
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100g dried apricots, finely chopped
200ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp honey (or to taste)
salt and pepper
natural yoghurt spiked with harissa
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
Place the squash in a bowl, drizzle with some oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a little more oil in a heavy-based pan over a low to medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry for 7-8 minutes, until softened. Add the spices and harissa and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée, then add the passata, chickpeas, apricots, stock and roasted squash, stirring to combine. Put on a lid, then simmer over the lowest heat for 1 hour. Add the honey to taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with herby couscous and a dollop of natural yoghurt that has been spiked with harissa.
Slow cooker method
If time allows, follow steps 1-2 as above to add bags of flavour.
Add all the ingredients apart from the honey to your slow cooker and season with salt and pepper. Add the butternut squash and stir to combine. Put the lid on and cook on the low setting for 6 hours or for 4 hours on high. Add the honey to taste.
Follow step 4 as above.
Extracted from Cook Slow by Dean Edwards (Hamlyn, approx €17). Photography by Ria Osborne.