Squash & venison tagine

Squash & venison tagine

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(5 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 3 hrs, 15 mins

More effort

Serves 4
Fragrantly spiced, this Moroccan-style stew with ginger, cinnamon and cloves will become your go-to main dish for a make ahead dinner party menu

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal331
  • fat11g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs21g
  • sugars15g
  • fibre6g
  • protein33g
  • salt1.8g
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  • 3 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 600g squash or pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed and cut into large pieces
  • 250g shallots, halved
  • 450g stewing venison (shoulder or shin is best), cut into large pieces



    The term venison was originally used to describe the meat of any furred game, but in Britain it…

  • 1 tbsp cumin



    An aromatic spice native to eastern Mediteranean countries and Upper Egypt. This warm,…

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
    Coriander seed

    Coriander seed

    kor-ee-and-er seed

    The small, creamy brown seeds of the coriander plant give dishes a warm, aromatic and slightly…

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves



    A clove is the dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a…

  • bunch coriander, stalks roughly chopped, leaves picked
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 fat red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • good pinch of saffron



    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 8 pitted prunes, halved
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • bulghar wheat or brown rice, to serve
  • natural yogurt, to serve


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan and heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Toss the pumpkin pieces in another 1 tbsp oil and some seasoning, and put on a large baking tray lined with baking parchment. Roast the pumpkin for 30 mins until almost tender but not too soft. Meanwhile add the shallots to the pan, rolling around now and then, until golden. Scoop the shallots out and set aside.

  2. Add the remaining oil to the pan and brown the venison – you’ll need to do this in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan. Take your time, ensuring the meat has a nice dark-brown crust before you remove it from the pan – this will give the tagine a good rich flavour.

  3. While the meat browns, heat a frying pan and tip in the cumin, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and cloves. Warm the spices through, stirring them around from time to time, until they turn a shade darker and smell aromatic. Put the cinnamon stick to one side with the venison, and tip the remaining spices into the small bowl of a food processor or a mortar. Whizz or pound with a pestle to a powder. Add the coriander stalks, ginger, garlic, chilli and 1 tsp salt, and blend to a paste (you may have to add a little water if using a food processor).

  4. When all the venison pieces have been browned, return the meat to the pan with the cinnamon stick. Stir in the spice paste and sizzle for 1-2 mins, splashing in a little water if the paste starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the saffron and pour in the stock. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and leave to bubble over a gentle heat for 1 hr 30 mins, stirring occasionally.

  5. Add the browned shallots, prunes and pomegranate molasses to the tagine, increase the heat a little and bubble without a lid for 30 mins more, until the liquid has reduced and the tagine is rich and tasty. Season and stir in the pumpkin 10 mins before the tagine is finished cooking. Stir through the coriander leaves and serve with your favourite grain – bulghar wheat, quinoa or brown rice goes well – and a dollop of yogurt. Even better if cooled and served the next day. This tagine will last for up to 3 days in the fridge or can be frozen for 2 months.

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Comments, questions and tips

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24th Aug, 2019
What a brilliant recipe! Definitely worth the effort. I served it with roast veg couscous and lemon & garlic kale. Thumbs up from the whole family!
carol362636's picture
26th Jul, 2017
I used my instant pot. Pre-cooked the butternut squash as directed but then sauted onions and venison in the instant pot, shoved everthing in- high pressure for 25 mins and then reduced the sauce on its own on the stove. Lovely! Could have done with a little extra chili....
4th Jun, 2017
Lovely smell and even better taste. Used a green, rather than a red chilli and could only get sweet potatoes, not a squash, but otherwise followed the recipe ingredients and put it in the slow cooker for 5 hours for the 1st stage, then back to following the recipe. SO delicious.
19th Oct, 2015
This tagine is delicious! As the recipe says it gets better when cooled and left for the next day- a prefect recipe to double and put half in the freezer. Certainly a new favourite in our family.
4th Jun, 2016
Which UK supermarkets sell pomegranate molasses? If I can't get it what could I use as a substitute?
30th Jan, 2016
This recipe is lovely. Can you suggest the best way to reheat the tagine please. Oven or hob?
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Mar, 2016
We would gently reheat this on the hob until bubbling hot.
2nd Nov, 2015
I know the recipe says to use shoulder or shin, but would this recipe work using a diced venison haunch, or would it dry out?
goodfoodteam's picture
19th Nov, 2015
Thank you for your question. To fill in other readers, the haunch is from the top of the back leg of the deer and as a prime cut it is usually roasted on or off the bone.  It can also be cut into steaks for quick cooking methods as well as diced for stews. Although the haunch is more expensive and slightly leaner than shoulder and shin, there is no reason why you can't use it in this recipe. The texture, may be slightly firmer, but with the soft dates and squash in the recipe you shouldn't find it dry.
14th Nov, 2015
I cooked it with diced venison haunch and reduced the cooking time by approx 50 mins since it was leaner and it did not dry out. My friends and I thoroughly enjoyed it and I will have it again !
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