Golden pilaf with sizzling merguez
- Preparation and cooking time
- Serves 6-8 as a starter
Merguez sausages add some mild spice to this baked basmati rice dish with nuts and mint, but leave them off if you want to make it vegetarian
- 1 butternut squash , deseeded and cut into bite-sized pieces (do not peel)
- 2 onions , halved, then thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
- 25g butter
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp sundried tomato paste
- 300g basmati rice , soaked for 20 minutes, then rinsed well
- 600ml vegetable or chicken stock
- 500g merguez sausage (around 12 thin merguez), or chorizo if you can't find them
- large pack mint leaves, torn
- 50g pistachio , roughly chopped
- roasted red pepper & harissa sauce (see recipe in tip, below)
- 170g pot Greek yogurt
- STEP 1
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Toss the squash, a quarter of the sliced onions and the oil in a large roasting tin, season, then roast for 20 mins.
- STEP 2
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan and add the rest of the onions, plus some seasoning. Gently cook for 15 mins until tender and turning gold.
- STEP 3
Add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the onions. Toast for 1 min, then add the tomato paste and rice, and sizzle for a few mins. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. stir the rice, then cover and simmer for 10 mins. Take the pan off the heat and set aside for 10 mins more to let the rice become fluffy and light.
- STEP 4
Toss the squash and onions, then return to the oven for 20 mins. Put the merguez into the oven in a separate tin and roast for 20 mins. The squash will be tender by this point, and the onions very crisp (verging on burnt – in a good way!).
- STEP 5
When ready to serve, slice the sausages on an angle. Toss the squash, onions, sausage, mint and pistachios through the rice and serve with the sauce and a dollop of yogurt.
ROASTED PEPPER & HARISSA SAUCE
Drain a 290g jar chargrilled red peppers, reserving 1 tbsp of the oil. Fry 1 crushed fat garlic clove in the oil for 1 min, then add 2 heaped tbsp sundried tomato paste and 1 heaped tbsp rose harissa paste (I used Belazu). Tip in the peppers, a 400g can plum tomatoes and a third of a can of water. Simmer for 10 mins, then blend with a stick blender or processor, leaving a little texture. Season to taste.