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Iranian vegetable stew with dried lime

Vegetarian Winter
Serves 6

If the British Isles had an official vegetable, it would have to be the potato. The rules are plenty: how to parboil them before roasting in hot oil or goose fat; how to toss them with butter and chopped curly parsley; how to mash them with milk and butter; and how to bubble-and-squeak them the next day. Not only that, but Yotam's Irish mother-in-law Greta is forever lecturing me about the rights and wrongs of preparing "tatties". But for all the simple beauty of these time-honoured favourites, there is so much more you can do to showcase the potato's ability to take on other flavours. Serve this sweet, sharp stew with steamed rice.


50g clarified butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
½ tsp ground turmeric
1½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp tomato paste
20g coriander 
10g tarragon 
10g dill
1kg waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped into 4cm chunks
1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into 4cm chunks 
3 iranian limes, pierced 2-3 times 
1 whole green chilli, slit on one side from stem to tip
5 medium tomatoes, quartered
150g spinach leaves
15g barberries
300g greek yoghurt (optional)


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/350F. Put a large casserole dish on medium heat and sauté the butter, onion, turmeric and cumin for 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Tie all the herbs into a bunch and add to the pot with the potatoes, squash, limes, chilli, a teaspoon and a half of salt and a litre of water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and boil gently for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are semi-cooked. Stir through the tomatoes, spinach and barberries, crushing the limes gently as you do so, to release some of the juices inside.
  2. Tip into a large roasting tray and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a little and the vegetables are soft. Remove from the oven and leave to sit for five minutes, then serve with a dollop of yoghurt on the side, if you like.