Looks Can Definitely Be Deceiving

IMG_2591Frank said that the Lentil and Pumpkin Stew that I adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe looked like dog food. I wasn’t offended. He’s certainly entitled to his opinion. When encouraged to taste it, he had to admit that it tasted pretty good.

That’s not to say that he actually had it for lunch. He opted for my “regular” lentil soup that was left over from the day before. His contention was that you eat with your eyes first, and his eyes didn’t want any part of the stew.

I wasn’t bothered by the sight or the taste. As a matter of fact, I think the taste is just great. This dish is a mellow combination of green lentils, garlic, fresh rosemary, and butternut squash.

I’ve been exploring uses for the amazing lentil. Something beyond lentil soup. Lentils are packed with protein and fiber and naturally low in fat. They are also good sources of iron, folate, and potassium. They’re easy to cook and readily absorb the flavors you surround them with in any given dish.

My next foray into the world of lentils will be Mejadra. This is an ancient dish that’s popular throughout the Arab world. It’s a combination of lentils and basmati rice infused with warm spices and topped with fried onions. Maybe Frank will find that more appealing. The picture in the Jerusalem cookbook doesn’t look anything like dog food.

But for today, I think that this adapted version of Nigel Slater’s stew is worth sharing. The original recipe can be found in Notes From The Larder. He recommends using either pumpkin or butternut squash. I used butternut squash.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, thickly sliced
2 TBS olive oil
1 large carrot, small dice
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
large sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves pulled from stem and chopped
1 cup green lentils
5 1/4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 bay leaves
butternut squash ( about 3 pounds)
2 TBS red wine vinegar
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
sour cream, parsley for garnish

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the onion and cook slowly over a low to medium heat until the onion has softened. Add the carrots and continue to cook slowly to combine flavors.
2. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the chopped rosemary leaves. Cook until everything is soft and lightly colored.
3. Add the lentils and 4 1/4 cups of stock. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Cut the butternut squash into large chunks. Add the squash to the cooked lentils. Simmer until the squash is tender. Check for seasoning. Add the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Remove a couple of ladlefuls of the stew to another pot. Add the remaining cup of stock and puree the mixture with an immersible blender or just use a potato masher. Return the mixture to the main pot. Stir to combine. If you want a more “soup-like” consistency, you could always add more broth.
6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.

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About Mary Jane

I am a retired English teacher. My husband, Frank, and I have lived on Cape Cod since 2000. I am a lifelong bread baker and writer and have been posting a blog on Falmouth Patch for the last few years. Savory Seasons has been largely devoted to recipes and food in general. I am hoping to expand my focus in this new blog.
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