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By Isgaelle Isma

6 servings

Harissa, a garlicky North Africa chile sauce, is usually served with couscous and stews. The homemade harissa featured here is super simple to prepare, and any extra will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, but jarred versions available at specialty markets make a fine substitute.


3 garlic cloves, 2 thickly sliced

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon caraway seeds, ground in a spice grinder

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ pounds butternut squash-peeled, seeded and cut into 1 ½-inch chunks

2 tablespoons water

Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degree. On a work surface, using the flat side of a chef’s knife, mash the whole garlic clove to a paste with a pinch of salt. Scrape the garlic paste into a small bowl and stir in the tomato paste and fresh lemon juice. Ass the ancho chile powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, cumin and caraway. Gradually stir in ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season the harissa with salt.

In a bowl, toss the butternut squash and sliced garlic with 2 tablespoons of the harissa, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the water and season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash in a single layer in an 8-inch square baking dish. Roast in the center of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender and browned in spots. Grace Paris Make Ahead the roasted squash can be refrigerated overnight. Rewarm in a 350 degree oven before serving.  

Note: Isgaelle Isma is a freshman at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida. She wrote this piece, especially for CSMS Magazine.

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