As I wrote in a previous post, I sometimes shy away from buying pumpkin and butternut squash because of the effort involved in peeling, seeding, and cutting them.
The flesh can be very tough and the seeds sticky; it sometimes takes me quite a while to finish.
I have figured out how to easily cut butternut squash, but I still find pumpkins challenging and often “outsource” the task to someone stronger, more patient, and less maladroit whenever I can.
That’s why I left out the pumpkin when I went shopping for some fall vegetables to make my tagine yesterday, even though there were some really beautiful ones.
I loved being able to buy a slice or wedge of pumpkin in Morocco. The grocer would have a huge 20- or 30-pound pumpkin, and cut me a piece any thickness I wanted.
I often took advantage of his kindness and specified the shape too. Moroccan pumpkins have medium to dark green skin and look a little bit like watermelons from the outside.
Even though I left out the pumpkin, I am pleased with the vegetables I bought: strikingly fresh parsnips, organic carrots—the only organic vegetable I can afford—and the smallest butternut squash I could find, which weighed close to 2 pounds after all.
Then I stopped at the butcher’s aisle, grabbed some meat, and off to my kitchen I headed to make dinner.
As soon as my tagine started sizzling, the harissa filled my whole house with its appetizing aroma. I checked my tagine every 10 minutes, hoping it would be done.
Beef Tagine with Fall Vegetables and Harissa
- 1 pound stew beef, cut into 4 pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Sea salt and pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- Pinch saffron threads
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons harissa
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 carrots, peeled and cubed
- 2 zucchini, cubed
- 2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
- Parsley for garnish (optional)
Place the beef in a large pot with the garlic, sea salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, and saffron.
Add the olive oil and sauté over medium heat, turning the beef occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the harissa and cook, 3 minutes. Incorporate the vegetable broth, cover and cook, 50 to 60 minutes.
Add the carrots, zucchini, parsnips, and butternut squash and cook, covered, until the vegetables and beef are done, 20 to 30 minutes. Plate and garnish with parsley.