Recipé for spicy red vegetable stew

On this page: A warming vegetarian stew for a cold night; spiced with a vaguely Middle Eastern flavour. Try it on carnivores too: it's a rich and satisfying dish. You can always lob in some chicken or casserole pork, for instance! (This recipé is based on one I found in Somerfield's magazine and adapted.)

Serves four hungry people, or six with dainty appetites


375g cous-cous
Small handful dried apricots, chopped
Tbsp pumpkin seeds or pine nuts or flaked almonds
2 red onions, sliced
2 red sweet peppers (a.k.a. capsicums, bell peppers)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cubed
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato purée
2-3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
15ml oil for frying
Sauce: 1 tablespoon nice olive oil, 1 teaspoon pimentón (hot smoked paprika) mixed together


Put the cous-cous in a basin and cover with water to about 1cm depth. Add the apricots and leave to soak. Drain after about 30 minutes if necessary: the end result should be moist and soft with no liquid. Stir in the nuts.

Fry all the fresh vegetables in oil, stirring well, till starting to brown. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute or two. Add the tomato pulp and purée, cinnamon and enough water to just cover. Simmer gently till potato and squash are tender. Add salt to taste if required.

Either steam the cous-cous over the stew, or heat in the microwave. Add a little salt to taste, and serve in bowls with the stew poured over. Serve the sauce separately to drizzle on the dish (it is quite hot!)


You could do this with rice, but the cous-cous is very good.