Lentil Stew

November 30, 2007

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Here’s another ‘accidental’ recipe. I was making Lentil-Butternut Soup with a lovely, little pumpkin-shaped squash not long ago, and by the time the lentils and squash were cooked, I was hungry. So, I swiped a bowl for lunch. Delicious! Use all olive oil if you like, but the tablespoon of butter adds an extra level of flavor. Except for bay leaves, it really doesn’t need any of the spices and herbs that go in the soup. Serve it as a main dish with salad and cornbread or as a side with roast beef or pork. One try and it will be a family favorite! SAM

1 cup dried Puy lentils
5 cups water, divided
2 large onions, thinly sliced, divided
2 1/2 pounds pie pumpkin, cheese squash, or butternut squash
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sweet butter
1/3 cup marsala wine
Sea salt and freshly ground white peppercorns to taste

Pick through the lentils, rinse, and place in a stockpot with 3 cups of cold water and 1 slice of onion. Cover, bring to a low boil, and simmer for 25 minutes or until soft.

Meanwhile, quarter the squash and scrape out the seeds and pulp. Place seeds and pulp in two cups water in the bottom of a steamer pan and bring to a boil. Place the squash cut-side down in the steamer basket, cover, and steam until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool and scrape the flesh into a bowl. Strain the steamer water, discarding seeds, and mix with the squash. Add the bay leaves. In a large chef’s pan over medium heat, sauté the squash mixture in the oil and butter until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Add the marsala and reduce, about 2 minutes. Add the cooked lentils. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes.
Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

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