Chestnut & Vegetable Tagine with Freekeh & Ras-el-hanout

“A fresh, fruity, spicy and deeply satisfying autumnal delight. Ras-el-Hanout, which translates literally as Top-of-Shop, is the spice mixture that originated with Nomad warriors collecting the aromas of the countries they rode through and selling them in Moroccan Souks. It can include up to two dozen spices, the mixture hums and heats as each individual spice adds to the intoxicating whole that infuses this dish with its warmth.”

By Merchant Gourmet Cook, Alex Mackay
Serves 4, 40 minutes

Ingredients

  1. 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  2. Half a butternut squash (600g) peeled, de-seeded and cut into 8 wedges
  3. 4 small carrots, cut in half, or 8 baby ones
  4. 150g chestnut mushrooms, halved if large
  5. 2 small pears, each cut in 4 lengthways
  6. 2 tbsp honey / or maple syrup for vegans
  7. 100ml orange juice (from a carton is fine)
  8. 30g ginger
  9. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  10. 600ml vegetable stock
  11. 8 dried apricots, quartered
  12. 180g pouch of Merchant Gourmet Simply Roasted Chestnuts (https://www.merchantgourmet.com/products/product/whole-chestnuts/)
  13. 4 small bunches of grapes (6 or so grapes per bunch)
  14. 250g pouch of Merchant Gourmet Simply Cooked Freekeh (https://www.merchantgourmet.com/products/product/freekeh/)
  15. 50g Rocket leaves, keep a few for whole for garnish and slice the rest
  16. Salt and raz-el-hanout

Preparation

  1. Heat a large frying pan with the olive oil.
  2. Season the vegetables with salt and raz-el-hanout Add the butternut squash and carrot. Fry over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and pear, fry for 2 minutes more or until everything is golden brown.
  3. Add the honey, orange juice, ginger and garlic. Boil until the liquid reduces to syrup.
  4. Add the stock and dried apricots. Bring to the boil then turn the heat to low. Cover the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Take the lid off, check that the vegetables are tender, simmer for a little longer if not. Add the chestnuts and grapes, simmer for 2-3 minutes until they are hot. Stir in the sliced rocket. Bring back to the boil. Season to taste with salt and raz-el-hanout.
  6. Warm the freekeh through, put it into 4 bowls. Top with the tagine and sauce.
  7. Scatter the rocket leaves over the top. Serve.

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