About this recipe:Even meat-eaters will love this flavour-packed vegetable stew. The slightly tart taste of dried cherries combines with sweet, plump raisins in a spicy mixture of chunky vegetables, chickpeas and ginger. Despite the long list of ingredients, the stew is simple to prepare for a hearty family meal.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, very roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp shredded fresh root ginger
550 g (1¼ lb) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
6 green cardamom pods, split open and seeds lightly crushed
3 bay leaves
2 cans chopped tomatoes, about 400 g each
225 g (8 oz) large carrots, very thickly sliced
300 ml (10 fl oz) boiling vegetable stock
55 g (2 oz) raisins
30 g (1 oz) dried cherries
125 g (4½ oz) okra, sliced lengthways into 3
1 large red pepper, roughly chopped
1 can chickpeas, about 425 g, drained
30 g (1 oz) toasted flaked almonds
3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
340 g (12 oz) couscous
450 ml (15 fl oz) boiling vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chilli sauce such as harissa
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
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Method Prep:25min › Cook:30min › Ready in:55min
Heat the oil in a very large pan and stir-fry the onion over a high heat for 2–3 minutes or until beginning to soften and colour. Toss in the garlic and ginger and cook for a few more seconds. Tip in the squash and stir-fry for about 1 minute.
Turn down the heat. Add all of the spices, the bay leaves, tomatoes and carrots. Pour in the boiling stock. Stir in the raisins and cherries, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. Tip the couscous into a large bowl and pour in the boiling stock. Add the oil, chilli sauce and spices. Leave until the liquid has been completely absorbed, then fork the mixture through to separate the grains. Tip into a colander lined with greaseproof paper.
Stir the okra and red pepper into the stew, then cover and leave to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and stir. Set the colander containing the couscous over the pan and simmer for a further 5–10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender but still retain their shape and texture and the couscous is hot.
Tip the couscous onto a platter. Pile the vegetable stew on top of the couscous and scatter over the toasted almonds and chopped parsley.
Some more ideas
For an apricot and coriander tagine, replace the cherries and raisins with ready-to-eat dried apricots, use halved French beans instead of the okra, and substitute fresh coriander for the parsley. Add 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander to the tagine at the end of the cooking time as well as scattering some over the finished dish. * Whole new potatoes can replace the carrots. * Red kidney beans can be used as an alternative to the chickpeas, or instead of adding them to the tagine toss them into the couscous for added texture.
Beans and chickpeas are an excellent source of protein, even better when they are eaten with grains such as wheat (couscous) and rice. Canned versions are a convenient way of including them in the diet with the minimum of effort.
Each serving provides
A, B1, C, folate, copper * B6, niacin, calcium, iron * B2, E, zinc
I made the apricot and coriander variation and halved all the quantities except the stock (it still produces enough to feed at least four people)! I used dried chickpeas instead of canned. I also added mushrooms and left out the almonds. Also I served with quinoa instead of couscous. - 15 Nov 2011