Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Butternut Squash Tagine with Buttered Chilli Amaranth

This dish is based on a recipe taken from ‘the modern vegetarian’ by Maria Elia. As usual I didn’t manage to stay within the confines of someone else’s directions, but it still seemed to work. I used amaranth instead of couscous, to make it gluten free. The texture is a bit different, but the taste is just as good, I think. 

Just like me, you can experiment with different vegetables that take your fancy, or you can follow my guidelines – it’s up to you. I added some greens because I felt I could do with the extra vitamins that day, and also I had some of them hanging about in the fridge, and they could do with using up. You can use any type of honey, but heather honey gives a rich indulgent taste.
Serves 2

300g butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
a pinch of sea salt
a pinch of saffron strands
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tin of tomatoes (400g)
1 green chilli
½ cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons heather honey
250ml water
80g sugar-snap peas
70g green beans
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper

100g amaranth
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons fresh chopped coriander
1 teaspoon chopped red chilli
zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons chopped almonds
chopped fresh coriander for garnish

Peel the butternut squash using a potato peeler. You do not want to use the seeds, so make sure your 300g are flesh only. Chop it into 1.5 cm cubes, and put to one side. Finely chop the onion and garlic.

Warm the olive oil in a pan, and add the onion and garlic. Sweat these until the onion is soft, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add all the spices and cook for 2 – 3 minutes to let the tastes mix with the onion. Add the tinned tomatoes. If they were whole, chop them before adding to the pan.

Finely chop the chilli. I took the seeds out, but leave them in if you like it hot. Add the chilli to the pan, and also add the cinnamon stick and honey. Add the squash and water, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Chop the sugar-snap peas and green beans, and taste to with black pepper. Simmer for a further 10 minutes until the greens are soft but not overcooked.

To make the Buttered Chilli Amaranth, bring some water to the boil (at the same time as you start preparing the tagine above), and place the amaranth in the boiling water. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes and drain well. Add the butter, coriander and chilli and stir well. Grate the zest of a lemon into the amaranth, taking care not to grate any of the white pith as this is very bitter.

Serve tagine and amaranth and scatter some chopped almonds and fresh coriander over. 

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