Incredible warming Moroccan spices make this healthy Lamb, Date and Butternut Squash Tagine perfect for chilly autumn and winter evenings. Serve with buckwheat for an extra health kick!
A few months ago now, I embarked on the Sirtfood Diet as a bit of an experiment to see whether it lived up to its impressive claims (spoiler alert – it did!). The thing I loved about it, was how it focused on eating more of the good stuff, rather than excluding the bad stuff. (Though obviously if you are filling your body up with lots of good stuff, you are likely to naturally eat less of the bad stuff). As a result, both during the diet and in the months following I have been eating much more healthily and have lost quite a bit of weight to boot!
If you want to find out more about the Sirtfood Diet and how it went for me check out these posts…
One of the things I loved most about the Sirtfood Diet was the fabulous recipes – after the first few days, which are quite restricted, the diet was a joy – full of delicious recipes that I thoroughly enjoyed, as did my family, and it was great knowing they were all full of goodness. One of the recipes in the Sirtfood Diet book was for a butternut squash and date tagine – I loved it, but as I was eating it, I couldn’t help thinking it would go brilliantly with lamb. The vegetarian version was nice, but a little too sweet for my tastes and I just knew adding lamb would balance it out perfectly – and it did.
I am so pleased with my version of this tagine – it is absolutely packed with delicious flavours: dates, butternut squash, chickpeas, lamb and spices such as cinnamon, cumin and turmeric, but it is also wonderfully nutritious – each element of the dish is full of goodness and I have served this with buckwheat for an extra health kick. Despite its name, buckwheat is not actually related to wheat – it is gluten-free (though do check the packets as sometimes there is cross contamination), low in calories and full of goodness. To find out more, check out my post: What is buckwheat and how do you cook it?
I think this tagine is wonderful with a side of buckwheat, but if buckwheat is not your thing, this would be great with rice, couscous or flatbreads. Wine-wise, this would go brilliantly with a Grenache-based red from the South of France, such as Côtes du Roussillon or Cotes du Rhone. Alternatively try this with a Rioja or Ribera del Duero.
Lamb, Butternut Squash and Date Tagine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion sliced
- 2 cm ginger grated
- 3 garlic cloves grated or crushed
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes or to taste
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 800 g lamb neck fillet cut into 2cm chunks
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 100 g medjool dates pitted and chopped
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes plus half a can of water
- 500 g butternut squash chopped into 1cm cubes
- 400 g tin chickpeas drained
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander plus extra for garnish
- Buckwheat couscous, flatbreads or rice to serve
- Preheat your oven to 140C.
- Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large ovenproof saucepan or cast iron casserole dish. Add the sliced onion and cook on a gentle heat, with the lid on, for about 5 minutes, until the onions are softened but not brown.
- Add the grated garlic and ginger, chilli, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric. Stir well and cook for 1 more minute with the lid off. Add a splash of water if it gets too dry.
- Next add in the lamb chunks. Stir well to coat the meat in the onions and spices and then add the salt, chopped dates and tomatoes, plus about half a can of water (100-200ml).
- Bring the tagine to the boil and then put the lid on and put in your preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Thirty minutes before the end of the cooking time, add in the chopped butternut squash and drained chickpeas. Stir everything together, put the lid back on and return to the oven for the final 30 minutes of cooking.
- When the tagine is ready, remove from the oven and stir through the chopped coriander. Serve with buckwheat, couscous, flatbreads or basmati rice.
If you don’t own an ovenproof saucepan or cast iron casserole dish, simply cook the tagine in a regular saucepan up until it has to go in the oven and then transfer the tagine into a regular lidded casserole dish before placing in the oven. Add on an extra 5 minutes cooking time to allow for the fact that the casserole dish will need extra time to heat up.
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