Root Vegetable Tagine

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all! I had a great one though I ate far too much – I actually had to turn down an offer of cheese on boxing day, which was very upsetting. It’s at this time of year that I really crave vegetables, and simple, warming dishes like this one. The spices ensure it packs a real flavour punch, while everything else gives a great boost to your immune system.

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The best thing to use for this is a cast iron pot that can be used on the hob as well as in the oven. If you don’t have one though don’t worry – use a large saucepan for the hob and transfer it to a casserole dish (and cover with tin foil) for the oven.

Ingredients (serves 4):
– 1 onion, roughly chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, crushed
– 1 stick celery, roughly chopped
– 400g butternut squash, peeled and cubed
– 250g sweet potato, peeled and cubed
– 200g swede, peeled and cubed
– ½tsp cumin seeds
– 1tsp dried thyme
– 1tsp smoked paprika
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1 bay leaf
– 400g tin chickpeas
– 400g tin chopped tomatoes
– 500ml vegetable stock
– fresh parsley

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C. Meanwhile, on the hob, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in your pan and add the onion, garlic and celery. Cook for 5 minutes until beginning to soften.

2. Add the squash, sweet potato and swede and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the root vegetables have softened. Stir in the spices before adding the chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and stock, then bring to the boil. Once it’s up to temperature turn down the heat, and allow to simmer and reduce for 15 minutes.

3. Put the lid (or tin foil) on your pot and transfer to the oven for 30-45 minutes.

4. Add the fresh parsley, season to taste and remove the bay and cinnamon. Serve with bread and butter.

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