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Spiced Pumpkin and Lentil Tagine

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November 6, 2016 / Moroccan / By
Anna

Halloween has been and gone for 2016. Yes, kids in Italy do go out trick or treating. Whether this is a long established tradition, or something entirely learned from American TV, movies and comics I'm not sure, but I strongly suspect it is the latter. It was nice to see the town alive with ghouls, zombies, witches, ghosties, vampires, a mummy or two and also quite a few of my personal favorite Halloween costume, Edvard Munch's "The Scream", with a variety of black and white shrouds and robes beneath. Tell me Trick or Treat has nothing to do with real culture after that! There were some pretty impressive Halloween pumpkins out in doorways and down dark alleys too.

Still, pumpkins are for eating, not just scooping out as a receptacle for tea-light candles on one night of the year. So here goes; a nice way to use your Moroccan tagine that might be a little underused during the hotter parts of the year.

This is one easy, fast and delicious dish. It is perfect for the autumn weather and draws on a delicious seasonal vegetable, the pumpkin. The inspiration for the recipe came from Leanne Kitchen's book "The Greengrocer".  Because I like to have a few super easy dishes available to me, I have streamlined it a little.

The wonderful thing about cooking in a tagine, is that the recipes do not need a lot of liquid. You can take many dishes and cook them in tagines as long as you reduce the amount of liquid. Just check from time to time to ensure that you have not reduced it too much. I cook with the tagine on the gas ring as it is more economical than using the oven, but if economy is not an issue, the placing the tagine inside the oven is the perfect place to cook a tagine meal.

Spiced Pumpkin and Lentil Tagine

Ingredients

  • 250 grams of brown or green lentils
  • A jar of passatta or a can of roma tomatoes chopped (extra water will be needed if using roma tomatoes, as the passatta adds more moisture
  • 600-900 grams of butternut, buttercup or dry pumpkin (don't use a watery one)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of ground  cumin and coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 3 teaspoons of tomato paste
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper


Peel and chop the pumpkin into small chunks.

Fry the onions gently in the oil; add the spices and stir in, cooking until fragrant.

Add the passatta or roma tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils, and half the parsley. If using roma tomatoes rather than passatta, you will need to add half a cup of water. Bring to a low boil and cook for about 30 minutes until the lentils are softening.

Pile the pumpkin pieces on top and check that the lentils have not dried the mixture out. If it is looking dry, add more water. The mixture should be damp but not sloppy. Cook gently for a further 30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.

Add the last of the parsley and serve with pitta bread and olive oil for a simple, easy meal.
Serves 4. 

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Country: Italy

Province/State: Umbria

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