Thursday, 30 September 2010

A vegetarian tagine of aubergine, squash and chickpeas with preserved lemon

More Moroccan food? I was halfway through making this for lunch with a friend before realising that it was at the very least Moroccan inspired, if not an out-and-out love letter to Marrakesh!

Unsurprising really, as we were meeting to book hotels for the holiday, so clearly it was lingering on my mind...

Serves 4

1 large aubergine (about 350g), cut into large cubes
250g butternut squash, cut into slightly smaller cubes
1 can chick peas, drained
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 preserved lemons, skin only, chopped
1 fresh chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 tbsp honey
350ml light vegetable stock
300g passata
2 tsp ras el hanout
½ tsp each of cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cumin, ground black pepper and paprika
50g toasted flaked almonds
1 dried chilli, seeds removed, chopped
large bunch coriander

1) Fry the onion in the oil over a medium heat until translucent then add the spices, fresh chilli and preserved lemon and fry for a minute until it smells fragrant and nutty. Stir in the passata and stock, then add the honey, squash, aubergine and half the chick peas. Squash the other half of the chick peas with the flat of a knife, and add to the pan. As the stew cooks, they'll help it thicken.

3) Let the pot simmer for 45 mins, or until the vegetables are tender. Just before serving add some finely chopped coriander, and serve with a mountain of fluffy cous cous and scatter over the flaked almonds. If you find the chilli heat too much (or neglected to remove the seeds) this is very good with some creamy greek yoghurt on the side.

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