Butternut Squash & Roasted Fennel Tagine with Saffron Couscous

Butternut Squash & Roasted Fennel Tagine with Saffron Couscous

Saffron should pretty much be my middle name…I can’t get enough of this stuff. SO woodzy, warm and yet packs that floraly flavor that just gets better with each bite. It is the MOST expensive spice in the world but luckily only requires a pinch to do it’s job (totally worth it people!)

Moroccan food has been one of those cuisines that I am always intrigued and excited by. I mean….who doesn’t love stewy foods packed with spices, fresh herbs, tender meats and sweet vegetables, piled high on top of buttery light couscous.

I started cooking Moroccan food a couple of years ago and it has for sure influenced my everyday cooking (lucky husband;). Preserved lemons and harissa are staples along with the traditional spices and fresh herbs that almost always make an appearance in my cooking. I have yet to travel there but it is top my list…my husband and I always joke that we will really need to save up for that trip because we know we are going to buy everything in site. The dream is to cover our house in Moroccan and Persian rugs.:)

This recipe can easily be switched out with any other vegetable, so once you’ve tried this recipe I highly recommend playing around with it. 

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 fennel- core removed and cut into 8ths
  • 2 onions- finely sliced
  • 2 tbls freshly chopped ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 tomatoes- halved and then quartered
  • 1 big pinch of saffron
  • fresh cilantro for garnish and the fennel ferns
  • saffron couscous

1. Preheat the oven to 450 d F

2. Place the fennel and the butternut squash on the pans. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the cinnamon, ½ tsp cumin, the turmeric, ½ tsp coriander cover well and place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden all over. Remove and set aside.

3. In a large pot heat up the remaining olive oil, saute the onions with the garlic, ginger, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp coriander and saffron. Season well with salt and pepper. When the onions are almost caramelized add in the tomatoes. Season again. Let cook down and turn into a sauce, this will take around 25 minutes. Check for seasoning and then add in the roasted vegetables. Cover and let cook on medium low for 3 minutes. Remove lid and serve the vegetable tagine with couscous, fresh cilantro and fennel ferns on top. Enjoy!

Saffron couscous
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • salt to taste

1. In a big bowl place the couscous and butter. In a separate small bowl place the saffron. Boil the water and pour a tablespoon of the boiled water over the saffron and let sit for a minute. Pour the rest of the boiled water over the couscous and add the saffron water. Cover with plastic wrap immediately. Let steam for 5 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and fluff with fork, season with the salt. Serve immediately.