Moroccan Style Butternut Squash Parcels


This one has been taken from Jamie Oliver’s recipe book ‘Jamie Does Spain’ under the heading of M’Hanncha.  I enhanced it slightly with a bit of extra spice and seasoning and crumbled in some left over half fat feta which gave it a nice tang but not essential.

Click here for Jamie Oliver’s Original Recipe


  • 100 g pearl barley
  • 1/2 butternut squash , (approx. 600g)
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 big bunch of fresh coriander , (60g)
  • olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
  • 1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
  • 100 g mixed dates and dried apricots
  • ½ a lemon
  • 10 sheets of filo pastry
  • 1 tablespoon shelled pistachios (opt)
  • Small piece of low fat feta cheese or any other sharp cheese (opt)
  • icing sugar , for dusting


  1. Cook the pearl barley according to the packet instructions, then drain.
  2. Wash the squash, then carefully cut it in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Peel the onions and garlic, and de-seed the peppers. Chop the squash, onions and peppers into 1cm dice. Finely chop the garlic with the coriander stalks (reserving the leaves).
  3. Place it all in a pan on a medium-low heat with 2 tablespoons of oil, the chilli flakes, fennel and cumin seeds, and the ground coriander. Sweat with a lid on for 25 to 30 minutes, or until soft but not coloured, stirring occasionally.
  4. De-stone the dates and finely chop the flesh with the apricots and coriander leaves. Fold into the veg pan with the drained pearl barley, squeeze in the lemon juice, season to perfection, then leave to cool.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
  6. Lay out two clean damp tea towels on a large work surface, side-by-side, with the longest edges facing you. Working quickly but taking care, lay out 3 sheets of filo side-by-side with the short edges towards you, overlapping each one by 2.5cm and brushing between the overlaps with water.
  7. Lightly brush the sheets with oil, place 3 filo sheets directly on top, then repeat with another 3 sheets. Save the remaining sheet for patching up.
  8. As evenly as possible, spoon your filling in a line along the long edge closest to you. Brush the opposite long edge with a little oil.
  9. Working slowly and carefully, use the tea towels to help you roll it up and away from you into a giant cigar, keeping it on the damp tea towel at all times. Roll it into a large pinwheel, working quickly but handling it gently to avoid too many cracks.
  10. Gently slide it onto a large greased baking tray, and patch up any gaps, if needed. Brush all over with more oil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until gorgeous, crisp and golden.
  11. Ten minutes before the end, smash and sprinkle over the pistachios and an extra pinch of each of the spices, if you like.
  1. Serve with a super-light dusting of icing sugar. Delicious with all the usual trimmings, or served with a spiced tomato and roasted red pepper salsa.

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