English food writer and cookbook author — and busy home cook — Diana Henry created this recipe for her twelfth and possibly her most winning book, From The Oven To The Table: Simple Dishes That Look After Themselves. The triumph of this book is how she harnesses our ovens to make full-flavored and satisfying one-pot meals. Many of the book’s recipes include poultry, meat and fish, and they are wonderful, but it’s what she does with vegetables, grains and fruit that shows the true genius of her deft hand with ingredients and methods.
Diana starts the recipe with a headnote that encourages versatility:
“If you don’t want to serve the labneh—though it’s only drained yogurt that you leave in the refrigerator overnight to make itself—then just stir a couple of chopped preserved lemons into a bowl of Greek yogurt and serve that alongside the vegetables instead.”
- For the labneh:
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
- Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- For the vegetables:
- 4 1/2 lbs. winter squash or pumpkin
- 3 onions, cut into thick wedges
- 2–2 1/2 lbs. cauliflower florets
- 1 lb. creamer potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
- 2–3 red Fresno chilies, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 in fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 x 15 oz. cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves, to serve
- 3 preserved lemons, rind only, shredded, to serve
- Couscous, to serve (optional)
- Start the labneh the day before. Put the yogurt into a piece of cheesecloth or a brand new all-purpose kitchen cloth set in a sieve over a bowl. Stir in some salt and pepper. Pull the fabric up round the yogurt to make a “bag.” Put the whole thing—including the bowl to catch the liquid that drains out—in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Give it a gentle squeeze every so often. You’ll get a firm yogurt “cheese.”
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut the squash into wedges (I don’t peel it, as the skin softens enough during roasting to be edible) and remove the seeds. Divide between 2 roasting pans, then do the same with the onions, cauliflower, and potatoes. The vegetables need to be able to lie in a single layer, with room to add the tomatoes later. Season, add the chilies, ginger, cumin, and harissa, and drizzle everything with 5 tablespoons of the olive oil. Turn the vegetables so they get covered in the flavorings and oil. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the chickpeas and garlic, add the tomatoes, and drizzle with the rest of the olive oil. Roast for a final 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and slightly charred in places. Check the seasoning.
- Transfer the vegetables to a warmed platter or shallow bowl. Squeeze over the lemon juice and scatter with the cilantro and shredded preserved lemon rind. Serve the vegetables and labneh on their own—the dish already contains a starch in the potatoes—or with couscous.