Spiced Squash Tagine
This fragrant Moroccan stew, or tagine, combines butternut squash, sweet potato, onion and carrot with an aromatic blend of spices and the sweetness of dried currants and honey. It is traditionally cooked in a shallow earthenware pot with a conical top, but a Dutch oven or other heavy pot works just as well.
- 6 to 8 saffron threads
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 butternut squash, about 1 1⁄4 lb. (625 g), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm)
- 1 large carrot, cut into slices 1⁄2 inch (12 mm) thick
- 1 large tomato, halved, seeded and chopped
- 3 Tbs. dried currants
- 1 Tbs. honey
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 large sweet potato, about 1⁄2 lb. (250 g)
In a small bowl, combine the saffron with 1 Tbs. warm water and let soak for about 10 minutes.
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, cinnamon and turmeric and cook, stirring often, until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the squash, carrot, tomato, currants, honey and saffron with its soaking liquid. Pour in 3⁄4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Peel the sweet potato, halve lengthwise and then cut each half crosswise into slices 3⁄4 inch (2 cm) thick. Add to the pot and cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender but still hold their shape, about 25 minutes. Serve directly from the pot. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012)