Squash is comforting, delicious, and healthy. It’s often steamed or roasted, but its name actually derives from a Native American term for raw or uncooked vegetables.
While it is often treated as a vegetable, squash is actually a type of fruit, as it comes from a flower and contains seeds. You can enjoy these seeds, as well as the flesh and, in many cases, the skin.
Squash in its different varieties contains sources of Vitamins C, A and B6, beta-carotene, antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, calcium and iron.
Butternut squash, apricot and chickpea tagine
This is a recipe I adapted from an Ottolenghi recipe. I always make it as soon as I get a butternut squash in my Bennison Farm bag. You can get most of the other ingredients from Colchester Food Coop.
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 2 red onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Half a chilli, thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- Small pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Small pinch of saffron (if you happen to have some handy, don’t worry if not)
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 1 medium sized butternut squash (around 800g), peeled and chopped into 3cm chunks
- 100g dried apricots, chopped
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 small preserved lemons, chopped roughly
- Chopped coriander leaves
Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan and cook the onions for 5 minutes or until they are slightly softened.
Add the garlic and cook for 2 two minutes.
Add the squash and cook for 5 minutes.
Then add the parsley, bay leaf, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and the rest of the spices. Cover with the vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes. The squash should have softened but not become too mushy. The sauce should have thickened slightly. If it hasn’t done this, then just increase the heat for a couple of minutes to reduce it.
Add the chopped tomatoes, dried apricots, preserved lemons and chickpeas, and cook for 10 minutes more.
Serve with couscous or brown rice and garnish with chopped coriander.