I love the aromatic flavours of a tagine and it is a great way to hide fruit and vegetables for fussy children. It is a Moroccan dish, a mixture of vegetables, chicken or lamb and dried fruit which would be cooked slowly in a tagine - a glazed earthenware pot with a conical lid with a knob on the top which was traditionally used by nomads as a portable oven over a charcoal brazier. My version is simple and quick to prepare and I love the rich flavours that come from the combination of butternut squash, korma curry paste and dried apricots. I like to use organic dried apricots, they have a much better flavour than ordinary dried apricots which are treated with sulphur dioxide to preserve their bright orange colour.
You can serve this with couscous or with fluffy white rice.
Makes four portions. Suitable for freezing
● 1 tbsp olive oil
● 1 red onion, chopped
● 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
● ¼ small butternut squash peeled and grated
● 1 tbsp Korma curry paste
● ¼ tsp cumin
● Pinch each ground cinnamon and ground ginger
● Pinch dried onion flakes (optional)
● 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
● 1 tbsp tomato puree
● 250 ml vegetable stock
● 1 tsp honey
● 300g skinless, boneless chicken thigh or breast cut into bite sized pieces
● 8 organic dried apricots cut into half cm pieces
● 1 tbsp light olive oil
● 1 small red onion, diced
● 200g couscous
● 400 ml chicken stock
● 2 spring onions, chopped
● 2 tbsp chopped coriander (optional)
● Heat the oil in a wok. Sauté the vegetables for 5 to 6 minutes until soft.
● Add the garlic, curry paste and spices and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, puree, stock and honey.
● Bring to a boil and simmer briskly for 10 to 15 minutes until thickened.
● Add the chicken and apricots and reduce the heat slightly, then cool gently for 10 minutes until the chicken has cooked through.
● Season to taste.
● Meanwhile put the couscous in a bowl, pour over the chicken stock, cover with clingfilm and leave for 10 minutes.
● Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the red onion for about 6 minutes.
● Uncover the couscous and stir in the red onion, spring onion and coriander (if using).