Warm up this winter with Pumpkin and Lentil Tagine inspired by travels to Morocco. The word tagine refers to the cooking vessel, not the dish. An earthenware pot consisting of two parts, a conical shaped lid that has a steam hole and a circular base that the cone sits over hot charcoal. Most tagines for sale outside of Morocco are for decorative purposes only, before purchasing one, check to make sure it is for cooking. Otherwise, a good old fashioned saucepan with a thick bottom does the trick. Especially one with a hole in the lid to let out a bit of steam.

PUMPKIN AND LENTIL TAGINE

Serves 6

2 tbsp oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder, more to taste
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 small winter squash or pumpkin (about 700g), peeled, cored & cut into 5cm/2inch pieces
200g green lentils
50g dates, finely chopped
1 litre water or vegetable stock
1 preserved lemon, peel only, sliced
Salt and pepper
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Harissa (optional)

1. Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add oil. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. 
While the onion is cooking place all of the spices on a plate ready for use. 


2. Add the ginger and garlic to the onions and cook for another minute before adding the spices. Cook the spices off for a minute and then add the tomatoes, squash, lentils, dates, water and lemon peel.


3. Bring back to simmering point and continue to cook, uncovered, for a further 30-35 minutes or until the lentils and pumpkin are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning.


4. Garnish with the fresh chopped coriander and parsley. Serve with couscous and harissa.

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