Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Couscous with Dried Apricots and Butternut Squash


1 large onion, thinly sliced
6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Scant ½ cup dried apricots
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾-inch dice
1½ cups uncooked couscous
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Pinch of saffron threads
3 Tbsp. tarragon, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. mint coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Grated zest of ½ lemon
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the onion in a large frying pan with 2 tablespoons of the oil and a pinch of salt. Saute over high heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside.
• Meanwhile, pour enough hot water from the tap over the apricots just to cover them. Soak for 5 minutes, then drain and cut into 1/4-inch dice.
• Mix the diced squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Spread the squash out on a baking sheet, place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly colored and quite soft.
• While waiting for the butternut squash, cook the couscous. Bring the stock to a boil with the saffron. Place the couscous in a large heatproof bowl and pour the boiling stock over it, plus the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for about 10 minutes; all the liquid should be absorbed.
• Use a fork or a whisk to fluff up the couscous, then add the onion, butternut squash, apricots, herb, cinnamon and lemon zest. Mix well with your hands, trying not to mash the butternut squash. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve warmish or cold.

Tags : Butternut squash , Middle Eastern