This is one-dish cooking glory. None of that stirring over the stove shenanigans – here the barley, pumpkin and spicy goodness is thrown in a dish together, shoved in the oven and forgotten for an hour until ready to go. It's midweek dinner magic. While phenomenal on its own, if you needed to stretch it further, it also goes like a dream with some slow-cooked lamb, grilled fish or chicken.
1kg Japanese pumpkin, sliced into thick wedges*, skin-on, seeds and pulp removed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ras el hanout, plus a pinch to sprinkle
1 cup pearl barley
400g can crushed tomatoes
1½ cups vegetable stock
½ tbsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp harissa
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup sultanas
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp dill, roughly chopped
½ cup Greek yoghurt
¼ cup pepitas
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Add the pumpkin, olive oil and one tablespoon of ras el hanout to a bowl. Using your hands rub the oil and spice mix all over the pumpkin pieces.
3. To a large high-sided baking dish, add the pearl barley, tomatoes, stock and turmeric and give everything a good stir to combine. Place the pumpkin pieces on top and sprinkle over an extra pinch of ras el hanout. Season generously and bake in the oven for 1 hour, checking at around the 40 minute mark that all the liquid hasn't already been absorbed, as this will cause the barley to burn. Give it a quick stir and if it seems dry, add another dash of stock, shake the pan and close the oven door. Cook until the liquid has just absorbed, and the pumpkin is cooked through and lightly golden on top.
4. Meanwhile, combine the harissa paste and olive oil in a small bowl and set aside.
5. Remove the pumpkin and barley dish from the oven and throw the sultanas and herbs over. Dollop with the yoghurt, spoon over the thinned-out harissa to taste, and sprinkle with pepitas. Season again with salt and pepper and serve.
*The size of the pumpkin wedges really doesn't matter, what matters is that they are all relatively the same size so that the pumpkin cooks evenly.