Hello! This is not a pumpkin recipe! Crazy, right…?
It is however, one that includes autumn squash. Butternut squash is about as close to pumpkin as you can get…
Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
If you like sweet, smoky, and spicy flavors…
If you like hearty butternut squash, lentils, and spinach…
If you like easy one pot meals that will nourish and satisfy…
Then THIS is your stew!
To create the smoky flavor, I used a generous amount of cumin, smoked paprika, and a hint of molasses.
For the spiciness, dried red chilis and cayenne raised the temperature beautifully. If you aren’t a fan of spicy, or only like mild heat, you can omit or reduce the dried red chilis and cayenne. You will still great great depth of smoky sweet flavor from the rest of the spices.
Butternut squash and lentils have such a great texture! I removed a couple of ladles worth of the fully cooked mixture and mashed it up, returning it to the pot to give the stew a thicker consistency.
Also, as much as I pretend that spice doesn’t affect me, I have a hard time with anything beyond mild heat. The creme fraiche garnish really helped to cool down the temperature and allowed me to enjoy the stew to the fullest extent, without slowing down, or cursing the red chilis.
I talked about creme fraiche in my last post, Gluten Free Pumpkin Dump Cake! Do you see what a wonderfully versatile ingredient it is? Love it.
Oh, and crusty sourdough bread is pretty much the best thing ever.
Doesn’t this picture just make you want to curl up by a fire, in a plaid shirt, under a wool blanket, and eat stew out of your favorite coffee mug!?
We are nowhere near that kind of weather here in Southern California, but hey, a girl can dream. And she does…oh she does. Why can’t I have the beauty and convenience of the gorgeous California climate and the diversity of seasons from say, the North Eastern United States? Is that reeeeeaaaaallly too much to ask?
Honestly, though. So Cal is hard to beat, and I am not going to complain, in seriousness, about the weather ever again, not after two years in Houston. Can you say sticky?
Houston has a lot going for it too, but weather is NOT one of those things.
Eat all the STEW!
Thanks for reading 🙂
- 24 oz pre-cut butternut squash (or 1 3lb butternut squash peeled, seeds cleaned, and cubed into ½” cubes) The chopped butternut squash yielded 5 cups
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 cups chicken broth (sub veggie broth or water for vegetarian)
- 1 ½ cup dried green lentils, rinsed and checked over for stones
- 1 tbl molasses
- 3 cups fresh or frozen spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3-4 dried red chiles.
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- OPTIONAL GARNISH: Creme fraiche
- Heat vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
- When oil is hot, add onion and carrot and sauté until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and red chiles, and sauté for a couple more minutes.
- Add dried lentils and spices. Allow the lentils to brown for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot, so the spices don't burn.
- Raise heat to medium high, and carefully stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Once it boils, lower the heat to a simmering temperature, and cover with a lid for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add butternut squash and bring to a simmer again, keeping the lid on. Let it continue to simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When butternut squash is fork tender, transfer about 1 cup of squash/lentil mixture to a small bowl, and mash with a fork, until soft and smooth. Replace to pot.
- Add spinach and replace lid. Allow the spinach to wilt and heat through, about 10 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning, and adjust accordingly.
- OPTIONAL – serve with crème fraiche.
*Nutrition Information is for 1/6 of the recipe, and includes a generous helping of creme fraiche*