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Spiced Pumpkin and Lamb Tagine

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium Red Kuri pumpkins or regular pumpkins
  • 3 Tbs. plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp. granulated honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground lamb
  • 3 Tbs. tagine spice
  • 1 Tbs. harissa spice
  • 1 Tbs. Saigon cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into rounds 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 cups diced Yukon Gold potatoes (1/2-inch dice)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (1/4-inch dice)
  • 8 dried apricots, chopped
  • 8 dried dates, pitted and chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • Steamed rice or couscous for serving

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Cut off the top one-third of each pumpkin; reserve the tops. Remove and discard the strings and seeds from the pumpkins. Rub the inside of each pumpkin with 1 Tbs. olive oil, and season each with salt and 1 tsp. granulated honey. Wrap the pumpkins separately in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Rub the flesh side of the pumpkin tops with 1 Tbs. olive oil and season with salt; place, flesh side up, on the baking sheet. Roast until the flesh is tender, about 15 minutes for the tops and about 1 hour for the whole pumpkins. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil.

When the pumpkins are just cool enough to handle, scoop out 1/2 cup flesh from each one and place in a blender. Add the 1/4 cup olive oil, cover and blend on high until completely smooth. Set the pumpkin puree aside.

In a 6-quart deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add the lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 8 to 9 minutes. Add the tagine spice, harissa spice and cinnamon and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Add the onion, carrot, potatoes, tomatoes, apricots, dates and broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the carrot and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and gently fold in until combined. Season with salt.

Place the pumpkins on a large platter, ladle some of the lamb mixture into the pumpkins and cover with the tops. Ladle the remaining lamb mixture into a serving dish. Serve immediately with steamed rice or couscous. Serves 6.

Recipe by Chef Michael Voltaggio