Thursday, January 27, 2011

Marak Gar'a Hamra Wa Batat Helwa [Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Stew]

I serve this as a side dish with couscous to roast chicken or lamb, or as a meal in itself with couscous.

2 ounces unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of cayenne pepper or 1/2 teaspoon harissa, or to taste
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/8 teaspoon ground saffron threads
1 lb. 5 ounces butternut squash or other firm winter squash, peeled and cubed
1 lb. 2 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup raisins
1 T honey
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
cilantro leaves, chopped

Preparing the pumpkin and sweet potato stew:
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and cook slowly, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until softened.

Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon stick and the cayenne pepper or harissa. Stir over low heat for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Pour in the stock, add the saffron, then increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil.

Add the pumpkin, sweet potato, raisins and honey and then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Remove the cinnamon stick, transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl and sprinkle chopped cilantro over the top.

Serves 4 to 6


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