This is a delicious dish, perfect any time of year, for lunch or for dinner.
You can easily omit the chickpeas if they are not a favourite and substitute some orange lentils.
Sweet potatoes can be used instead of / or as well as the squash, chard works well instead of spinach.
Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Spinach Tagine.
Enough for 4
3Tbs sunflower / rapeseed oil
1 ½ kg butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced into 2cm – 3cm chunks (whatever size you choose, they need to be the same)
4 shallots (1 onion would be fine) – roughly chopped
*300g dried chickpeas soaked and boiled (or 400g tin chickpeas)
200ml (ish) stock (either vegetable, liquid from chickpeas if you boiled them, chicken if you are not cooking for vegetarians, water will do)
250g spinach (or thereabouts, if you can find non-baby spinach this is better)
12 dates cut into 3 pieces each
2 Tbs orange juice
orange zest from 1 orange
2 pinches saffron (optional but adds a fantastic dimension if you do use it)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp allspice
small piece of cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 Tbs fresh coriander (optional)
1 Tbs fresh parsley (optional)
salt to taste
*dried chickpeas, although more hassle, have a crunchier taste than tinned
- Preheat the oven to 200C gas 6.
- Mix the ground spices together. Take 1/3 of this mixture and 1 Tbs of the sunflower oil and coat the butternut squash. Place in roasting tin and cook in oven for 15 minutes, until starting to soften.
- In a pan, heat the remainder of the sunflower oil. Add the shallots and remainder of the spices and the saffron. Gently cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked chickpeas, dates and orange zest, cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the butternut squash and orange juice. Add enough liquid to just cover. Gently simmer for 25 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Add the herbs (if using) and spinach.
- As soon as spinach has wilted, turn off the heat. Leave for 10 minutes before serving.
Great with orange and pomegranate couscous.