Hearty Moroccan Winter Squash Tagine

Reap squash's health benefits with this savory Moroccan-inspired dish.It's peak winter squash season, and while to some that may just mean ordering up a pumpkin spice latte, there are far more delicious and healthy ways to get your fix. The many varieties of winter squash include butternut, kabocha, delicata, hubbard, spaghetti, acorn and more.

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Don't know where to start or how exactly to cook these beauty-benefitting and nutrient-rich members of the gourd family? This festive and hearty Moroccan dish features kabocha squash, but almost any winter squash would work. When shopping for squash, pick one that's heavy for its size, which means it's fresh and its water content is high. A lightweight squash may be dried out and old.

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Warming Winter Squash Tagine Recipe courtesy of Food52.com Serves 6
Ingredients: 1/4 cup olive oil, divided 1 large red onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1 medium winter squash (such as kabocha), chopped into 1-inch pieces 1 can chickpeas, drained 1 handful dried apricots, minced 1 1/2 cup couscous 1/3 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped 1 cup Italian parsley, chopped

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Directions: Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan with a well-fitted lid (or a tagine, if you have one) over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft but not browned, about five minutes. Add spices and stir until they are fragrant. Add squash and stir all of the vegetables together to coat them in the spices. Add chickpeas, apricots and enough water to come almost to the top of the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20-30 minutes, as long as it takes for the squash to be squashable with a wooden spoon but not so long that everything is falling apart. Add salt to taste. While the tagine is simmering away, preheat your oven to 400 F. Spread couscous out in a shallow baking dish. Cover with boiling water and let sit for five minutes, until the couscous soaks up all of the liquid. With a fork, stir in some salt to taste, plus chopped almonds and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put the dish in the oven to warm through and get a little brown and crunchy on top. Once the couscous and tagine are ready, dish up and top with chopped parsley.

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